Barry O’Shea: Kerry Bench Could Be The Difference

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barry_oshea_1MAYO’S mentality has changed.

I know they lost two All-Irelands, but you can’t put everything down to mental frailty, sometimes you just meet a  better team.

Mayo got a flying start in last year’s final and had Dublin beaten practically out the gate before Bernard Brogan got a goal.

This year they are saying the current Dublin team is invincible and one of the best teams we have ever seen yet Mayo only lost last year’s final by a point.

I don’t believe this thing about Mayo not having any guts when they keep coming back every year after every crushing disappointment.

They always produce excellent  footballers and are always there, or thereabouts.

Mayo are a different proposition to any side we have faced in the last couple of years; their forwards tackle harder than any side in the country, a lot of their attack comes from their midfield and their half back line.

They run at you, they don’t kick as much ball into their full-forward as the likes of Kerry or Dublin. Mayo run at you and come in droves, they tackle you into submission and that’s where they get their scores from, so Kerry will have to be ready for that.

It’s a good tactic by Mayo because they don’t have a marquee forward that can destroy a team, this way they can get a lot of scores out of pure work rate.

Every Kerry defender who gets the ball will have to be comfortable in possession and be willing to take a few hits. The key to getting past Mayo is if a Kerry player can break the first tackle they can open them up.

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There are three changes in the Kerry team from when they faced Galway and from what we hear, two of them are because they are not able to start, but I think  both Sheehan and O’Sullivan will make an impact.

The move to drop Killian Young seems to be because of a lack of form at the moment.

All year Fitzmaurice has got the match-ups right. He has caught us off guard a few times since he took over, so probably what everybody thinks will happen won’t happen.

I think Kerry have something up their sleeve, Fitzmaurice to give him his due has got his tactics right in every game and I’m sure he’ll do that again.

The common perception down here is that Keith Higgins will pick up O’Donoghue, but the word in Mayo is that Tom Cunniffe will be on him because he is their best man marker.

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I think Mayo would be foolish to put one man on O’Donoghue. They may not double up on him as such, but they’ll have someone keeping an eye on him, coming back to cover.

They won’t leave the space Galway and Cork left for him, if they do, it will be madness.

I don’t think Mayo are going to be afraid of Kerry. They seem to be a different prospect. Saying they don’t have it in them is an easy stick to beat them with until they come along and win an All-Ireland.

I’m a Kerryman so of course I think they can beat them. The problem with Kerry is performances have been inconsistent, but most of the time Kerry have produced performances when we needed them.

Kerry have the firepower to win, so if they match Mayo with intensity and work rate they have the football to win.

What could make all the difference is the amount of experience Kerry have on the bench. We can bring on guys who have been there and done that.

Barry John Keane is an outstanding sub. You know when he comes on it’s not going to take him 15 minutes to get into the game – he’s onto it in 15 seconds.

In the last 20 minutes when the play is opening up we can look to, Bryan Sheehan, Declan O’Sullivan, Darren O’Sullivan, Killian Young and Barry John Keane –  a lot of good subs.

The word is there is a lot of competition from players on the fringes of the panel at training, so the buzz is good and the form is good.

Kerry will not be lacking for confidence, not arrogance, just inner belief.

After weighing all that up, I’ll give Kerry the slightest of nods.


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