Five Things We Learned After Kerry’s Win Over Galway

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A good win for  Kerry yesterday but what did we learn about our title chances? Gavin O’Connor reports…

1. We’re reliant on James O’Donoghue

Being reliant on a star player isn’t a bad thing, in fact many sides have been fired to glory by one talisman. Would we have won an All Ireland in 1997 without Maurice Fitzgerald? I think the answer is a resounding no.

O’Donoghue’s performances in the last two games have been astounding, even prompting ‘The Sunday Game’ panelist Martin McHugh to say he is better than Gooch.

But, both Cork and Galway were cruising for a bruising with their match-ups. Five or six players have been swapped on him in that time, but no one thought to double mark him.

James Horan is a shrewd manager. He’ll have something in mind for the Legion man because, at this stage, if we were to win an All Ireland, O’Donoghue would likely have to be man of the match in every game.

James O'Donogue lines up for a score against Galway in the All Ireland Quarter final. Photo by Dermot Crean.

James O’Donogue lines up for a score against Galway in the All Ireland Quarter final. Photo by Dermot Crean.

2. The depth of squad has improved

It was heartening to see Barry John Keane come off the bench yesterday and score three from play from four shots on goal. Kieran O’Leary chipped in with one and only for a little composure (we’ve been here before) Darran O’Sullivan would have rifled to the net.

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Peter Crowley also made an impression, with some fine possessions and cool passes into our forward line. He is man who is breathing down the neck of every player in the half back line and that sort of competitiveness is encouraging.

Looking at the big picture, to win an All-Ireland now your bench must make an impact. Yesterday was another step in the right direction.

3. The Munster final is not a barometer

The performance in Cork was a joy to behold, but at this point the result is now looking a bit redundant. We simply did not play the same side that pushed Mayo to the pin of its collar yesterday.

Declan O’Sullivan was in no way nearly as effective against Galway as he was against Cork, which says a lot.

In the Munster Final the Dromid man was allowed free reign and did what he liked, as did all of our players around the middle of the park.

Galway rookie midfielders Tomas Flynn and Fintin O’Curraoin dominated midfield for large spells, which isn’t very encouraging considering what we’ll have to face.


4. Midfield alarm bells

Looking at midfield it is a worry. Of the three players we have deployed in that position so far in the championship, it’s difficult to see them put a hand on the two O’Shea brothers.

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Yesterday, watching Aidan crash into Corkmen and the elder Seamus hold the fort around the middle, I came to the conclusion it would be insane to go toe to toe with them in that sector We simply do not have the physicality for it.

Brian Kelly’s kick outs could be a way around that. The Legion man has impressed under high ball and shot stopping, but his kick outs have been patchy. What does Eamonn have up his sleeve?

5. Kick passing our saviour 

It’s something that Fitzmaurice has clearly worked on. It was so frustrating in the past to see Kerry sides being bogged down by the blanket coming up the park and losing possession.

This is a way around it. There is no county in Ireland with the quality of kick passers we have. The tactic of getting fast quality ball into our forwards aligns itself nicely with the modern aspects of our game. Moving forward and changing, but remaining true to our traditions.

If Mayo decide to go man to man on Geaney and O’Donoghue and we get enough supply coming from midfield, Kerry will win. It is a big if though…

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