"As good a result as it was for Derry, they have poked the bear now"

April 03, 2024

Derry's Christopher McKaigue and Con O'Callaghan of Dublin ©INPHO/James Crombie

Former Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice believes Dublin will be a stronger side after Sunday’s Allianz Football League final defeat to Derry.

The Dubs came back twice to force extra time and then penalties at Croke Park before going down to the Ulster champions 3-1 in the shoot-out.

Speaking on the RTE GAA podcast this week, Fitzmaurice said the Dubs will have learned plenty from the defeat ahead of their bid to retain the Sam Maguire Cup.

"Dessie Farrell is not going to be sad. They fought back from the dead,” said the 2014 All-Ireland winning boss.

"There have been holes exposed in their game, which they’re going to go away and deal with, particularly how open they were at the back and how, when they got caught on long kickouts, they were wide open. We won’t see that again this year.

"It isn’t that Evan Comerford did anything wrong but I’d say when they were under the cosh in the second-half, if (Stephen) Cluxton was in goals he might have managed it slightly differently.

"The way that they played, for a lot of the league, they’ll be happy with it. They will have to tweak it, in terms of their approach to the back, which they will, and they’ll be stronger for it.

"As good a result as it was for Derry, they have poked the bear now."

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