From Dr. Crokes camp Quinn & Brosnan on Co. Final

Brosnan enjoyed his second coming with Kerry but it was Crokes who helped him deal with pain
By Murt Murphy for kerrygaa.ie
If there is one quality that shines through when you are talking to Kerry and Dr Crokes star Eoin Brosnan, its honesty - Brosnan exudes honesty both on and off the field and that was probably one of the reasons why last January, Kerry boss Jack O'Connor approached the Crokes player, who had been two years away from the intercounty scene.
Had Brosnan the enthuasism to return to the Kerry set up "Yes, there was enthuasism there. I was away for two years - When Jack O'Connor contacted me in late January after the Nemo game, I had to take time to consider it and see had I anything to offer. There were work commitments, family commitments with a young daughter at home. Then you have to consider would your body be up to it both physically and because of injuries - and wear and tear, you are getting no younger."
Brosnan saw Kerry return as challenge

But Brosnan saw it as a challenge and once he got back in, the rest of the squad accepted him as if he was never away
"But I suppose I saw it as a challenge and I went back into to Kerry training. The lads are good craic in there and we got down to some hard training. The League went well, we lost two games in the league - both by a point and if we had drawn one of them, we would have suddenly been into the final. So we were not a million miles away and we knew things were going well and we won some good games on the road.
We then went to Portugal which is tough training but it's enjoyable at the same time because you have four or five days away with the lads , training two or three times a day, living a professional life in effect, and when we came back, you are straight into the Championship and a game against Tipperary. Things were going really well in the Championship; there were ups and downs for everybody as they go out of form. But I suppose the freshness was there and obviously we did not get over the line on the most important day, but it was pretty enjoyable" explained Brosnan who had to adapt to playing in defence rather than in attack for the Kingdom - did he find this difficult

"It was a challenge but there was freshness about taking on a new role for Kerry. Its still fairly new to me because I have only been playing there for the past couple of years - So it takes some time but it's a role I enjoy with the club as well "

A centre back rookie

Brosnan admits to having little experience playing at the back
"No experience really, it was always midfield and the forwards for me - it was only over the past couple of years that I started playing centre back now and again with the club and I suppose one part of the role that suits me is that you are facing a lot of the play and it went off pretty well overall. Obviously there were games that did not go exactly how you would like it but that's football "

Club helped get over Dublin blues
Brosnan admits that while the defeat to Dublin was hard to take, but being a Crokes player and knowing that his club would be challenging for honours was a big help
"Well it might have been difficult if you knew that you would not be challenging for honours with the club, but I knew the Crokes would be when you look at the calibre of the player that the club has - once we got all our players together and got our act together, we were always going to challenging so that helped. We are still in the O'Donoghue Cup (East Kerry SFC); the Club Championship defeat to Rathmore was not something that we would not be happy about. . Like any player your career is short, you strive for success and you train for success when you don't, that's disappointing. But when we (Kerry players) came back in, the lads who had been training all along were in good shape, and they were mad for action because they were training all year and that we are only too delighted to contribute to"

Whats it like for a Kerry player to come back in to the club scene again

"I suppose all year you are keeping an eye on things and I suppose this year was particularly difficult for the club lads because there were lads away in Australia, New Zealand, and the USA and there were five of us in training with the county and it was difficult for them. There were fellows injured and with club players you are entitled to a weeks holidays so basically for the summer, it was a slog for them really and it was difficult for them You could see fellows getting annoyed as a few county league results did not go the way we expected so when we went back in, I suppose you always feel that you have a responsibility to make up for lost time.
Last year Kerry were beaten early in the summer so everyone came in mid August and you had a good build up for the Championship - It has been very sudden and rapid this year and we don't have the time that we would like to prepare. But it's the same for Mid Kerry because they have Darran (O'Sullivan) and Donnchadh Walsh coming back into their set up and clubs pulling their players as well, like I know Milltown/Castlemaine are in the Co Intermediate Final so it's difficult all around. But we have been in for the last four weeks, and we have done some good training and the two weeks break, in between semi final and final will hopefully get fellows revitalized because we have been on the road for the last four weeks constantly and Championship games do take a toll, and there are a couple of knocks and injuries and hopefully they will have cleared up come game time"

Was this year different considering you had started the year still in retirement but then was coaxed away from Crokes and back in with Kerry?

"It wasn't really a problem. I was in with Kerry for the Mayo game which I suppose was mid February. I know that we played Nemo Rangers in the last week in January and fellows were tired after that and we had an eight week break, before we got back into it by the end of March. The Club Championship and the first rounds of the SFC creep up on you pretty quickly but we were in good shape and hit the ground running. We had a tough opening game in the championship against the Co Intermediate champions Gneeveguilla out in Gneeveguilla which you could call an East Kerry derby. We set out to win every game - when you don't win like what happened to us in the Club Championship, you are down like every team, but luckily we have got over the line in all our recent Co Championship games and we are where we want to - in a county final"

Tough on clubs to win back to back titles
How important is it for Crokes to past back to back Championships something very few clubs have managed?
"A Co Championship is a very difficult thing to win. It's a long time since any club side have posted back to back titles, while Divisional sides are very strong and they can go and do it. But for a club side, we have been in five of the last seven county finals but it's to get over the line and win it, it's very difficult. Sunday is going to be very difficult too because we are playing, Mid Kerry, a side with few weaknesses and we are going to have to draw on all our resources and if we don't we will be beaten."

Kieran O'Leary not Gooch the saviour
Crokes unlike 2010 have only been crawling over the line this year so what does Brosnan think
"Last year we were in flying form and I don't think any team came within four or five points of us in the Championship but it's something that we know that the ability is there and that if we hit form and play well we will be very hard to beat. So in previous years, possibly when things got tight we had difficulty getting over the line.

It's a worry that things have been tight this year. So we know that we must put in a better performance on Sunday and a more complete performance. There is nothing I can pinpoint as to why we haven't maybe been firing on all cylinders and it's been Kieran (O'Leary) over the past couple of games when its comes down to it, he has cone up trumps, getting the all important scores"
But Brosnan appears to be enjoying his football with club and county and he Kerry supporters can rest easy - it appears that Eoin Brosnan is going nowhere.
Crokes will be depending on the Mighty Quinn
By Murt Murphy for kerrygaa.ie

Not alone has Luke Quinn have to play in a county final in a new position but he skippers the famed Killarney side who are going for back to back Co Championship medals last achieved by a club player back in 95/’96 when Laune Rangers this unique feat.

Quinn is only 25 years of age and has won a county senior last year, a Munster club, six O'Donoghue Cups, three county league titles and a host of underage honours as well.  He played three years for the Kerry U21’s and he was two years a Kerry minor. He won two Munster minor medals, beating Cork on both occasions.

DIFFICULT THIS YEAR WITH SO MANY PLAYERS ON KERRY PANEL

"Yeah we had five guys on the Kerry panel. So there were times you could come up here during the year and there'd only be six or seven fellas training. That was difficult in one sense but we always knew that if we worked away with the core group, we'd be okay. Harry and Denis were very good with us. We'd work away, do our gym work during the week, and do one or two sessions here. Then when championship came around, we'd all join in together. But the Kerry lads would always land over whenever they could. They'd fall in for a few kicks or whatever. We're basically on the road two years so we'd to taper it this year and not go flat out for the county league. We'd bigger fish to fry. We'd to try out some of the younger lads, got them some game time and then closer to championship, we could blend them in with the Kerry guys and get them used to the system.”

Do club players ever get frustrated with the delays?

“It is tough and it does get frustrating. You're coming up here training on a Tuesday or Thursday night for a couple of months, and you might only have one or two games in that time frame. It's tough to motivate fellas. Obviously being captain myself, you have to set a good example but it's tough for guys, especially the fringe players who come up training and feel that when the championship comes around, they might not be playing anyway. It's tough. The panel is tighter this year but we're trying to bring everyone in together.

What about the defensive changes that have been forced upon the team?

“We were more hopeful than anything this year but the changes took a while to work out. Obviously, with Eoin Brosnan dropping to centre-back and myself going to full-back. It took a while for us to adapt to everything. Even Fionn Fitzgerald, who came back from New Zealand, filling in for Shane Doolan, it took him a while to get used to it. Its taken time for us to gel together. With every game, we're getting more used to it.”

However Quinn felt that Crokes victory over South Kerry was key to Crokes year taking off

“That was a great battle. We knew going down it was backs to the wall. We'd been training with only seven or eight all along, and then the Kerry guys came back into it. On the day it gelled in well.”

The captain was relieved to win last year as he had been playing since 2003

“I'm playing since 2003 now, senior for Crokes. I think when we were in the first couple of county finals, we were very young. I remember the first final I played in, in 2005, the full-back line was Shane Doolan, Michael Moloney and myself. We were 17, 18 and 19. We were probably naive going into it and we probably overachieved at that stage with such a young team. To be perfectly honest, I was confident that it would happen some day. As the years go on you do start to get more nervous but I was just happy we got there last year anyway. “

Winning the U-21 Co Championship earlier in the summer was an unexpected bonus for Crokes “It wasn't expected at the start of the year with the U21's. But as the year went on, they grew more and more together as a team. I watched that team all along. They weren't expected to go out and win it, but they stuck at it and played to a system, good Crokes football. You saw that in the county final, it was a never-say-die attitude that won it for them, getting the goal in the last couple of minutes. It was a great confidence boost and brought a great buzz around the club.

The Nemo game was a disaster for Crokes and Quinn admitted that things just did not go right

“That day didn't go right for us. But I think the way this team is going the last few years, we've been regularly contesting the latter stages of county championships and we've gone on to Munster a couple times. Once you taste it once, you want to get there every year. We lost Nemo a couple years ago but we beat them a few years back and then the Nire in the Munster club final and those were just great days.

What about playing at full back in front of a young keeper in Alan Kelly

“No, it wasn't a big deal. I was out of the position for a year or two so it's taken a while to adapt but I've got there. So far, so good. Alan behind me is new in there. He's doing very well in goal, getting more confident with every outing. He's a solid kick-out and is a great shot-stopper, which he showed there against West Kerry. He did very well against Stacks.”

What does the captain think of the way things have worked out since the Crokes resumed playing after the All-Ireland?

“The Rathmore game was a funny game really. We came out of the blocks brilliantly. They got three goals in the match, at vital stages to bring them back into the game. It was just one of those things. Maybe we made a few mistakes but we just had to learn from that.

Then we just got home against Stacks and West Kerry - It's very hard to be able to sustain an effort for 60 minutes, teams will always come back at you. You can say we slipped up but we still won those games. Maybe a couple of years ago, we would have lost those games and got turned over. We dug it out. It shows great character to come and turn a game around, you have to take the positives from it. “

 

But Quinn knows that it will take an almighty effort for Crokes if they are to contain the Mid Kerry forwards

“I genuinely don't think they've a weak link up front. They seem to be very slick, move the ball well and have a great understanding with each other. They have six scoring forwards and seem to be lively with it.Yeah I know you could say Rathmore beat us the week before the Stacks game and then Mid Kerry trounced them. I know we've beaten South Kerry and the Stacks but I wouldn't disregard the teams that Mid Kerry has beaten either. It will be a battle all the way and there will not be much between us” concluded Luke Quinn, a born leader.