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04th Apr 2022

Jack O’Connor stat will fill Kerry fans with confidence as they head into the championship

Lee Costello

O’Connor picked up his fourth league title as Kerry manager yesterday.

Jack O’Connor is enjoying his third stint as Kerry manager, and yesterday picked up his fourth National League title.

The other three times O’Connor won this trophy was in 2004, 2006 and 2009, an interesting stat for those in The Kingdom.

This is because on those three years, Kerry also went on to win the All-Ireland title as well, meaning that statistically speaking, every year a Jack O’Connor side wins the league, they also go on to pick up the Sam Maguire.

The Dromid Pearses man has undoubtedly been the best manager throughout this league campaign, as his team went from strength to strength every week.

After a disappointing draw with Kildare on the opening day, Kerry picked up their form from there on, beating every other side on their way to the last round against Tyrone.

With a league final already booked, and the current All-Ireland champions fighting for survival in Division One, a Darren McCurry inspired performance handed Kerry their first defeat of the season.

However, they bounced back in excellent fashion, not only beating Mayo yesterday in the final, but annihilating them in the process, not least thanks to a David clifford masterclass who kicked 1-06.

“I’m just happy that we are setting out our stall to be competitive in every game,” said the three time All-Ireland winner.

“It wasn’t the end of the world if we didn’t win the league, but it certainly won’t hurt. We’ve been working on getting a good shape on the team, a good structure and the lads are enjoying it which is a big part of it. They are buying into the team ethos and concept.

“There were six changes from last Sunday, the boys accepted that and most of them came on today and did well. We are happy with where we are at, but there’s a long road there.

“Kerry had huge wins in the league last year and when push came to shove down the line in the championship it didn’t do them a pile of good, so we are certainly going to keep our feet on the ground.

“I felt the game last Sunday [against Tyrone] would stand to us. I watched the Mayo-Kildare game and I felt it was a loose enough game…2-20 to 0-18. That sounds like a loose enough game.

“But our game in Killarney was tight and tough and intensive and I felt that might stand to us going into today and we kept Mayo to 13 points which was the most pleasing aspect really.

“It’s all about mindset. It looked in the last few weeks as if Mayo got all they wanted out of the league. You weren’t sure whether they wanted to be in the final or not. But I think they didn’t want to lose three games in a row so they made a big effort for last week’s game.”

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