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Jack O'Connor praises Kerry nerve as they see off Derry

Jack O'Connor praised the nerve of his players after Kerry secured safe passage to another All-Ireland football semi-final with victory over Derry this afternoon.

The sides were level at the break, but a critical period either side of the hour mark saw the men from the Kingdom pull four points clear. The Oak Leaf county looked tired, offering little by way of a response, and Kerry hit the last two scores of the game to make it comfortable on the scoreboard.

"We've played three or four games against teams that have sat deep," O'Connor told RTÉ Sport after the game.

"We weren't exactly coming in cold but Derry have it at another level. They have their blanket defence - that structured defence - fairly down.

"It took a pile of patience and nerve as well. We needed to hold our nerve. We went a point down early in the second half.

"It would be easy enough to panic and go away from the structure but we stuck at it.

"It was an energy sapping game, up and down the field. If you turned over the ball you had to run 100 metres to get back. When the opposition get 15 men inside the 45 there isn't too much space. There aren't too many gaps so you just have to work it.

"For the most part I thought we did well. We obviously turned the ball over but we're delighted to get out of here. We knew this was going to be a huge battle, regardless of what people were saying."

"We needed to hold our nerve. It would have been easy to panic."

Jack O'Connor reacts to Kerry's victory over Derry #sundaygame

Kerry came into the game with a week's break, having won their group earlier in the competition, while Derry had gone to extra time against Mayo last weekend.

Donegal and Armagh, who won their groups, had already advanced, while