By Mark Jones
DUBLIN — Speculation that Kerry’s Maurice Fitzgerald was retiring from intercounty football following differences between the player and his manager, Paidi O Se, was quashed last week.
When Fitzgerald learned that he had been dropped to the subs’ bench for the National League game against Roscommon in Hyde Park, he withdrew from the panel, fueling rumors that he was planning to retire. However, it later emerged that Fitzgerald had traveled to the U.S. the week before the game and that O Se believed he might not be fit enough to start.
The rift between the two was patched up when O Se telephoned the player to explain his decision, but according to sources, it’s as if an uneasy truce has been declared.
"Both of them would have to make a big effort to communicate with the other because they’re such different personalities," said one Kerry insider. "Maurice is sensitive and reserved, while Paidi is bullish and from the old school that you don’t have to tell a player everything, that football is about being able to take it on the chin."
Fitzgerald failed to start in any championship game last summer as Kerry went on to take the All-Ireland title. However, he made several vital contributions as a substitute. While O Se was adamant he wasn’t match fit due to injury problems, it was widely believed that Fitzgerald felt he should have been in the starting lineup.
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