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Fitzmaurice exit highlights Super pressure teams have faced

 

By John Campbell

The Super 8s appendage may have lent added allure to the All-Ireland football quarter-finals but for three teams in particular their respective experiences at this stage of the championship have only served to provide much food for thought as autumn beckons.

Kerry find themselves on the lookout for a new manager, Kildare have yet again flattered to deceive and Roscommon's credibility as a potential football force has been left in tatters.

It was in the aftermath of his team's 3-25 to 2-16 win over Kildare in what was in essence a dead rubber at Killarney that Kerry boss Eamon Fitzmaurice stepped down citing that "a change in direction and a change of voice will do good".

They may have left Kildare wallowing in their slipstream but it was their defeat to Galway and that fortuitous draw against Monaghan that really brought the curtain down in the Kingdom's season.

The ongoing emergence of David Clifford as the best young forward in the country, the growing maturity of centre-half-forward Sean O'Shea and the progress being made by midfield ace Jack Barry are among the positives that Kerry will take from this year's championship campaign but the team has still some way to go before the glory days can be replicated.

And whoever succeeds Fitzmaurice will have the big task of taking the side to a much higher level of consistency.

Kildare may have claimed the scalp of Mayo but for the most part they played without real conviction against the Kingdom and their discipline let them down again with Neil Flynn and Mick O'Grady incurring red cards.

Manager Cian O'Neill certainly has a little soul-searching to do as he weighs up his future. Former boss Kieran McGeeney, now the manager of Armagh, tried for six years to bring major success to Kildare but this appears to be as far away as ever.

And Roscommon were handed out yet another lesson by a much-changed Dublin yesterday who cruised to an effortless 4-24 to 2-16 in a meaningless game.

Dubs' manager Jim Gavin saw Eoghan O'Gara (2), Michael Darragh Macauley and Paul Flynn grab his team's goals against a Roscommon side that huffed and puffed without ever really ruffling their opponents feathers as they took another step towards what could be a fourth consecutive All-Ireland title.

In the All-Ireland Hurling Championship semi-final replay, Galway just managed to pip Clare by 1-17 to 2-13 to set up a final meeting with Limerick on Sunday week.

Jonathan Glynn's goal underpinned Galway's first half authority but Clare roared back and might well have snatched an unlikely victory had Aron Shanagher's late shot not came back off the woodwork.

Galway now find themselves in the frame for back-to-back All-Ireland titles - changed times indeed within a sport which has been dominated by Kilkenny for so long.

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