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‘We’re a good bit behind Dublin’

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice admitted that his side’s 12-point defeat to Dublin in Croke Park was “a chastening experience for us”.

The last time the sides had met, in the 2017 Allianz Football League final, the Kingdom got the better of the Dubs but they were blown out of the water by the rampant All-Ireland champions on Sunday.

“We just have to take it on the chin,” Fitzmaurice told RTÉ Sport.

“We’re a good bit behind Dublin at the moment. They showed their class again today.

“There were good things in the first half but in the second half, we made a couple of mistakes early and Dublin really punished them.”

Kerry led early on and were well in contention coming up to half-time but didn’t score in a 30-minute period either side of the break when Dublin piled on 1-8.

“We seemed to go into our shells a bit, which was disappointing,” said Fitzmaurice. “

“There’s always going to be mistakes, particularly against Dublin, and it’s how you react and you keep going.

“(We had) a lot of young players out there. They’ll learn a lot from it and we’ll come back again.

The reigning champions have now lost three of five games and defeat to Kildare on Saturday would put them in real danger of relegation.

“We have to pick ourselves up fairly fast,” said the Lixnaw man. “We have a six-day turnaround and a huge game in Tralee. Our focus will have to turn to that fairly quickly.

Dublin boss Jim Gavin was understandably content with his team’s efforts. They face Galway next in what is likely to be a rehearsal of the Division 1 final on April 1.

“For this time of the season, we’re going to be happy with that result,” he said.

“It’s 11 weeks to Championship and we’re slowly building it up.

“We were consistent enough, 1-8 and 1-9 in each half respectively. 2-15 or thereabouts from play.

“We missed a few chances that we need to tighten up on but we’re looking forward now to Salthill and Galway next week.

“Galway have been very impressive so it’s going to be a great challenge for us.”

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