Defiance rather than delight was etched on the face of Kerry manager Jack O’Connor as he surveyed the press corps deep in the bowels of Croke Park following his team’s clinical destruction of Dublin yesterday.
His team had answered their critics in the best possible manner and O’Connor did not pass up on the opportunity to respond to the detractors.
“There are people who take pleasure out of criticising you especially when you are down,” he rapped.
“Well, they can say and write what they like now.”
The Kingdom boss has clearly been feeling the heat lately but it was Dublin who found themselves in a furnace yesterday — O’Connor explained just why.
“We knew we had a big performance in us and we certainly gave it.
“The early goal from ‘Gooch’ provided us with belief and confidence,” he added.
“We know that Dublin like to spring from the traps early but we got a head start on them and kept up the pace,” mused O’Connor.
And just as his prediction that competition for places in the side will now be stepped up, especially after the impressive contributions from yesterday’s substitutes, carries considerable weight so too does the view of man of the match Declan O’Sullivan that Kerry can become even better.
“We would not be so foolish to think that this win will make it easy for us. Perhaps some of the strongest criticism we have shipped has been from within our own county.
“We are happy with this display but we have a lot of hard work ahead of us. We can improve,” reflected O’Sullivan.
Dublin manager Pat Gilroy, shellshocked at what he had just observed, did not seek refuge in excuses.
“We froze and Kerry just flooded through us. We could not get into the game in the first twenty minutes and that was it. Several of our players were below-par and we have to ask serious questions of ourselves,” admitted Gilroy.