Kerry v Mayo: Five Questions To Ponder On For The Big Match

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Eamon Fitzmaurice

Kerry boss, Eamon Fitzmaurice.

Gavin O’Connor looks at the key questions that will be answered on Saturday in Limerick…

Who will favour the six day turnaround?

Coming out of Croke Park last Sunday, the feeling was that Kerry would! Given that Mayo had just put in a gruelling second half of football,  a man down they had begun to noticeably tire at the end of the second half.

That feeling was further enhanced Sunday evening when the Mayo county board put in appeal for the game not to played in Limerick.

Ideally both camps would like another week to prepare. Which side has better conditioning is debatable, but Mayo certainly are the more physical unit.

The fact that Stephen O’Brien, Declan O’Sullivan, Bryan Sheehan and Darren O’Sullivan are all carrying injuries is a worry. Mayo do not have the same worries in those key positions.

Continued below…

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Will O’Donoghue be given special attention again?

For spells last week, James O’Donoughue was triple marked, but for the majority of the game one of the best defenders in the country Keith Higgins was stuck to him like glue and they also adopted a sweeper in front of O’Donoughue.

Despite this, our talisman had 22 possessions and notched up 1-3 from play, though he scored 1-2 of this in second half when Mayo had to go for it.

It is a possibility that Mayo may take the shackles off for the replay, but I can’t see it. The plan for O’Donoghue was working fine before the sending off.

Mayo were happy to leave Mikey Geaney as a free man.  He only scored one point. O’Donoghue will take you to the cleaners if you go man to man.

Will Limerick play a factor?

The choice of venue has certainly added to the discussion this week. On ‘Morning Ireland’, RTE pundits, Tommy Carr and Colm O’Rourke were due to speak about the incredible semi-final they had witnessed the day previous. Except they didn’t.

Their time on the radio was spent chastising the GAA for making the decision not to play the game in Croke Park. All of this is disappointing and takes away from what was an incredible spectacle.

If Saturday’s replay turns out to be half as good, I don’t think where the game was held will factor into people’s minds. Leave in plenty of time for the mother of all traffic jams in Adare though!

Will Mayo come out to defend again?

Mayo manager James Horan has come in for some harsh criticism during the week with many pundits saying he got it wrong in the first half and showed Kerry too much respect. The one thing I will say is we never saw his full plan come to fruition, his plans were scuppered because of the sending off of Lee Keegan.

It is unlike a Mayo team to play the way they did though – they opted for long kick passes which our sweepers mopped up as soon as the ball broke in the forward line, instead of their more natural running game.

It’s hard to see them justify playing the same way on Saturday.

How will Kerry win?

One of the very encouraging aspects of the game was Kerry had nine different scorers, while Mayo relied on man of the match Cillian O’Connor for the bulk of their scores.

Coming into the game, a lot was made of the perceived wisdom that if you stop James O’Donoghue you stop Kerry. For the most part he was stopped in the first half yet Kerry went in four points ahead. Not much was made of that.

Killian O’Connor is a player who is known to blow hot and cold, if he has a cold day and Kerry can retain that spread of scorers, they will give  themselves a great chance of getting back to Croke Park.














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