FINAL PREVIEW: Patience To Be Kerry’s Virtue That Will Topple Dubs

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Kerins Kerry insert


Gavin O’Connor says it will be close, but Kerry’s belief, guile and taking the right options at crucial times, can prevail on Sunday…

The game at points fizzled over towards the end. Photo by Dermot Crean.

Tense moments in the Kerry v Dublin league game earlier this year. Photo by Dermot Crean.

IT’s getting very close now isn’t it? In a lot of ways it’s the build up to an All-Ireland Final that can be the most enjoyable, despite the hectic scramble for tickets.

It’s the only part where everyone is sure to be involved, it doesn’t cost 80 quid to stop and chat to your neighbour about Donaghy being dropped or will Barry John get a chance to shine?

Continued below…

brogue Kerry insert


That rumble in the tummy, that a pang of dread at the thought of defeat, or the way you might let your mind wander and imagine Kerry turning on the style and stunning the Hill into an awkward silence akin to that in a doctor’s waiting room.

The closeness of both these sides have been debated all week with both the pundits and the public split 50/50 (draw anyone?).

Currently, we’re in the second longest gap between replays in the 130 years of All-Ireland Finals. The last replay was in 2000 when Kerry overcame Galway. Between 1952 and 1972 is the longest stretch without a replay.

In 1972, it was Kerry who were defeated by Offaly, which just so happens to be the last time an Ó Sé from Ventry did not start an All-Ireland Final for Kerry. On the 12 occasions Kerry and Dublin have played each other in an All-Ireland Final they have never drawn.

For those who like a flutter, a draw at half-time and at full-time is an inviting 55/1.

The big news on Thursday night was Eamonn had sprung a few surprises. Sceptics will say the reportedly enforced decision to drop Marc Ó Sé and Paul Murphy were done for tactical reasons and that one or both could well start. The truth is however, we haven’t a clue, those gates are locked in Killarney for a reason.

As always with an All-Ireland final, there is a multitude of talking points. A worrying one must be that Kerry’s main area of weakness, just so happens to be Dublin’s greatest strength.

In the semi-final, Tyrone could have scored four goals quite easily after tearing straight through the Kerry defence. Cork caused the same problems in the drawn Munster Final.

In the replay, Aidan O’Mahony, was drafted in and the Kerry defence looked far less flaky.

With these openings the damage has been done long before the player gets in his shot at goal. All four goal chances against Tyrone came from turnovers and players running from deep, so you can be sure Jim Gavin will have done his homework on this.

Eamonn Fitzmaurice likewise.

Kick outs have been one of the main talking points during the week. Kerry will almost certainly push up on Stephen Cluxton’s restarts and hopefully rattle him like Mayo did when they threw caution to the wind in the drawn semi-final.

There has been so much emphasis on Cluxton, people have almost forgotten Brendan Kealy will be taking them as well.

Against Tyrone he opted to go short most times with Tyrone basically giving them up.

You get feeling this will be less open than many expect, the stakes are high and both managers are tactically astute.

The main thing for Kerry is not to allow Dublin get goals. If they get one, another soon follows and that usually decides the match for them.

So it may not be the first one that kills Kerry, but the second one right after. This is absolutely crucial.

So crucial that Eamonn Fitzmaurice played it cute and called this out at a press conference earlier in the week.

Even if Dublin get a goal, if they don’t follow it up with a second it might feel like a mini victory for Fitz and his mind games.

If the game is tight going down the home stretch, I just think this Kerry team has steel in it.

They’ve been put to the pin of their collar a good few times and answered everything that’s been asked of them over the last year.

They have the confidence and crucially, the patience, to pick the right option that comes with a side that has a knack for winning in tight games.

This and their natural ability to nail the fundamental skills of the game at the right moments are the reason I’m going for a Kerry win.

In the semi-final Kerry only made one unforced error to Tyrone’s twelve, a remarkable statistic giving the conditions. In a tight game these are the little things that swing matches.

Verdict – Kerry by 3

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