'There was an orchestrated campaign against Lee Keegan' - Fitzmaurice hits back

April 05, 2017

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice.
©INPHO/Presseye/Lorcan Doherty.

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice has hit back at claims that his team bend the rules when it comes to the physical stakes and criticised the lack of balance in the 'narrative' ahead of Sunday's Division 1 decider.

Last weekend 1995 All-Ireland Dublin winner Paul Curran accused the Kingdom of abandoning their values and saying they "really should be ashamed of themselves".

Current star Philly McMahon also went public with his opinion in recent days and drew comparisons with Mayo's robust tactics in last year's All-Ireland final draw and replay.

All of this comes in the wake of a fractious meeting between the two counties in round 5 of the league at Austin Stack Park.

"Normally I kick for touch with those kinds of things because I don't believe in mind games," Fitzmaurice told The Irish Independent.

"There is a game of football to be played and you trust the referee to get it right. But I do find it a bit worrying to be honest that there is a narrative out there at the moment and I don't think it's balanced at all.

"I think that the Dublin team (and I think it's important that this goes in that I am saying this) are a serious team that we have the utmost respect for. They are a fantastic footballing team, an attacking footballing team with brilliant players and with an outstanding manager. But make no mistake about it they have a hard edge about them and a seriously hard edge.

"So they have a hard edge but so have we. I have never tried to paint us whiter than white. But what I find annoying at the moment..."

"And the reason I felt that I had to respond was out of my duty to the players that we are going in to the weekend on a level playing pitch."

Fitzmaurice concluded: "My worry was that it was developing into a situation like the All-Ireland final replay last year where there was an orchestrated campaign against Lee Keegan that was effective for the replay.

"So normally I would not open my mouth about things like that but I feel out of my duty to the players I had to address it. I had to say that there is a complete lack of balance, even within our own county, there is a lack of balance and I just think it's unfair on our players."

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