Delivery to Derry forwards wasnt good enough: Quinn
THE fulcrum of a full-back line that produced heroics all afternoon in Croke Park, Derry number three Conor Quinn admitted their forward line hadnt been aided by the supply lines.
Losing Patrick McCloskey after just five minutes was a blow, particularly in terms of Derrys ability to win their own puck-outs. They struggled for possession in Kerry territory over the 70 minutes, with only Ruair Convery to hit as an aerial target.
Kerry werent long in recognising that as they put Patrick Kelly on to him to ensure Derry didnt get a foothold. His club-mate Quinn was naturally pleased with his sides defensive performance, but admitted they could have done more to help a small, nippy forward line.
Well, the way we set up was the same way as they did, to drop one of our midfielders back. To be honest, that helps our defence because we have seven men," said Quinn.
Maybe today we expected that our delivery into the forwards, given that they were a man short, would have been a bit better. It just wasnt there and we struggled to win ball in the forwards, puck-outs and the like. We were maybe depending on Scoots [Alan Grant] and Ruair [Convery] and Blight [Patrick McCloskey] up there, them winning any sort of ball in the air and then Heamy [Aaron Kelly] and [Paul] Cleary feeding off breaks.
Losing Blight and the way they were set up, maybe we should have tried something else a wee bit earlier. We were maybe a wee bit too content to keep doing that when it wasnt working.
Kerry led by five 1-8 to 0-6 at the interval on Saturday. Derry never quite looked like winning the game, but nor was there ever a danger of Kerry blitzing Tom McLeans side the way they did in their huge semi-final win over last years winners Kildare.
Experienced former captain Quinn who made a superb early block in the second half to deny Pdraig Boyle a certain goal admitted Kerry were sharp up front and hard to deal with, but that Derry felt they were still well in the game at half-time.
They were very good at moving the ball and they were economical. Their movement of the ball, and their movement off the ball, theyre hard to keep an eye on at times. They were better with the ball when they got it. We were maybe just a wee bit more content to kind of lob it up the field and fight for it. They used it a wee bit better.
Without a doubt, we were still well in it [at half-time]. The breeze was hard to judge, but I felt it was coming to favour us in the second half.
Half-time, we were going out saying that, if we got a few early scores and got on the ball, it was going to be a game. If we could get it into the last few minutes with a couple of points in it, thats where we start to excel.
Thats where weve always been good, in dogfights of games that are hard won by a point or two. But we never really got that at the start of the second half, it kind of continued the way the first half had ended.