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Fitzmaurice says no need for retirements yet

By Declan Bogue

Maybe it is a growing trend, but Kerry's seven frees awarded looks rather paltry when held up against the 21 times David Gough awarded Dublin frees in this semi-final.

Asked about the disparity in the free count afterwards, Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice answered: "To be honest, I made a decision coming down the corridor I'm going to bite my lip because if I say anything that becomes our reaction - which isn't the reaction.

"The reaction is that Dublin are an outstanding team and I don't want to be looking at the paper tomorrow or Tuesday and it saying 'Fitzmaurice said this about the ref', or whatever."

In defeat, Fitzmaurice is one of those managers that oozes defeat, although you know it must be gnawing at him, in this dark auditorium, to have to explain away a defeat that would have been unthinkable in his home county.

Pressed once more for his view on the contentious challenge on Peter Crowley at the end of the game, he stood firm: "I'm going to bite my lip on it. I'll leave it. I'd prefer not to say anything.

"You saw it yourselves. Ye are all smart guys - you can make up your own mind. I don't want that to be the story to be honest."

As for the rather baffling decision to replace their most dangerous forward - Paul Geaney, scorer of 1-4 from play no less - for a defender in the dying throes of the game with Kerry chasing an equaliser, he said: "We took him off because Dublin had pressed up at the time. We'd been playing with a sweeper and needed to get another back on. It was a tactical change."

The inevitable questions about possible retirements come. The inevitable responses arrive.

"Today definitely isn't a day to be thinking about it. I'd encourage the lads again to relax, it's time to take stock they can make a decision again in their own time," he said.

And as for his own situation, Fitzmaurice only requested another year's extension to his own agreement at the end of last year.

"Again that's for another day," he said. "I was only hoping to win today and be here again in three weeks' time."

Still, he will admit that the performance is enough to inspire him.

"The way that we were written off earlier in the summer in my mind was crazy," he said.

"I knew what was there and I knew what was coming today… Now Dublin were by far the better team and were always going to win that game but the way we were written off after that surprised me and we knew there was a big kick in the group. I didn't need any convincing. It didn't take today to convince me of what's in this group."

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