FINAL COUNTDOWN: A Tale Of Three Seasons For Strand Road Contingent

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IN the annals of Kerry football only one other club has contributed more men to senior cause than Kerins O’Rahilly’s.

Town rivals, John Mitchels, with 48 players, are the only team that have provided more players for Kerry in the history of inter-county football.

Kerins O’Rahilly’s supplied 47 and Austin Stacks at 46 make up the rest of the three teams that have provided the most players for Kerry.

In among the panel now is Cormac Coffey, so it might not be long before O’Rahilly’s equal the Mitchels record. For now though, the club will have three men involved on All-Ireland final day.

David Moran, Barry John Keane and Tommy Walsh, all face the final with wildly contrasting year’s behind them. Their club manager, Barry O’Shea, helps gives us a bit of insight on how they will be feeling with their different roles ahead of the final on Sunday.

David Moran, runs passed Tyrone's Peter Harte, in the All-Ireland SFC smi-final last month. Photo by Dermot Crean.

David Moran runs past Tyrone’s Peter Harte in the All-Ireland SFC semi-final last month. Photo by Dermot Crean.

Last year’s All-Star, David Moran, is in line for another and is generally seen as the best midfielder in the game right now. His talents are all too apparent to Kerry followers over the last year.

The 27 year old has bounced back from not one, but two cruciate injuries in his young career. He is the master controller around the middle which is reflected in his huge possession count with each game.

“David has been playing with air of confidence about him,” said Barry O’Shea.

“I think because, he’s comfortable about his role in the team, tension has gone out of his game. He can relax, he doesn’t have to aim to please. He plays a simple game and it’s very, very effective. He has been outstanding and it’s great to see given the hard times he has been through injuries.”

Barry John Keane scoring his goal against Tipperary in the Munster SFC sem-final.. Photo Dermot Crean.

Barry John Keane scoring his goal against Tipperary in the Munster SFC sem-final. Photo Dermot Crean.

The grandson of a Kerry captain who lifted Sam at Dublin’s expense in 1955, Barry John Keane has carried on the lineage over the last year with often decisive cameos. Barry John is fighting for a starting place but as we all know, he can be just be effective when sprung from the bench.

“You’ll never want to be comfortable as a sub, it’s not a nice place to be, but I think Barry John is in a different situation,” said Barry O’Shea. “Football has changed, substitutions are huge and Barry John is making a contribution in every game he comes in. Maybe, he’s not the guy who starts  in the first 15, but he always makes an impact.”

“Though he’s not starting, he’s similar to David in that he’s comfortable within the setup. Maybe in the past he felt he was fighting for a spot in the squad, while you can never be that confident, he’s playing with a bit of freedom. It’s a different game when you feel comfortable in your skin, with the manager and with the whole setup, he looks like a guy that is and it’s showing in the way he’s playing.”

Tommy Walsh, fetches a ball high in the sky earlier in the year against Mayo in the National League. Photo by Dermot Crean.

Tommy Walsh, fetches a ball high in the sky earlier in the year against Mayo in the National League. Photo by Dermot Crean.

With Tommy Walsh, there has been a load of talk all week that the former Young Player of the Year, could make a surprise jolt into the side, and it would be a surprise, given Tommy, has only  played three minutes of action in this year’s championship.

“Of course he’s disappointed with the amount of time he has got so far this year, but Tommy is tough, he’ll hang in there and he’ll definitely have something to contribute before he’s finished,” said Barry.

“It’s very surprising that Tommy hasn’t been used more often. Now the word is they’re using him as a midfielder as opposed to a full-forward. If that is the case, he’s competing against two players at the peak of their powers at the moment, Maher and Moran.”

“If they’re pigeonholing him as a midfielder, he’s more versatile than that. He has proven that he can play corner forward and full forward. I’m surprised he hasn’t be tried in those positions. Tommy is a guy with savage mental strength. People forget he has come back from an injury that might have finished a lot of guys. He definitely will have a lot to contribute to Kerry football over the next few years.”

You can be sure the Blues will have a lot to contribute this Sunday too.

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