If The Gooch Is Out, What Happens Next For The Kerry Attack?

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Kerry Clare 8

Colm Cooper is a doubt for Kerry’s quarter-final in three weeks.

THIS afternoon it was confirmed that Colm Cooper damaged shoulder ligaments in last Sunday’s Munster Final victory over Tipperary, meaning he’s a doubt for Kerry’s All-Ireland quarter final on August bank holiday weekend.

A lot will be made of the battle with time Cooper will face in the coming weeks, but what are Kerry’s options in the forward-line as a likely semi-final with the All-Ireland champions creeps ever nearer – considering Kerry are likely to overcome their opposition in three weeks time.

James O’Donoghue made a return to inter-county football on Sunday, scoring four points against – an albeit tired and defeated – Tipperary. Might he be the man to fill that number 11 shirt, for one game at least?

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It’s certainly something Eamonn Fitzmaurice could try. In the 2014 All-Ireland final, O’Donoghue finished the match scoreless but made a huge contribution for his team operating on the 45 metre lines poking holes in the Donegal packed defence.

If Colm Cooper is to make a mark on this season, you feel his talents are better used in close to the goal to concentrate his mind mainly on scores and forget about certain Dublin corner backs taking flight up the park. It’s just not his game and it never was his game.

Paul Geaney lit up what was a dour enough contest against Tipp scoring 2-3 all from play. You’d wonder if it’s too late in the season for the Dingle man and Gooch to strike up a partnership inside close to goal. Both players undoubted natural abilities suggest it’s worth a punt.

The link between both lines of attack in the All-Ireland Final and National League Final was a major cause of concern, Cooper at his age simply does not have the legs to make up that gap. It looked plainly obvious in both those matches. Surely that won’t be left happen a third time?

Preparing for matches at the moment is an odd thing. To make a comparison with cross-channel soccer, it must feel like Kerry play championship and League 1 sides all season and only come up against a Premier League team once.

With the draw as it is, it’s difficult not to look past what is to be an inevitable semi-final meeting with Dublin. Being on the ‘A’ side of the draw means Kerry will avoid, Mayo, Cork, Monaghan and Donegal/Tyrone.

It looks like the Munster champions may not have serious test before the semi-final. They could conceivably get to an All-Ireland semi-final after only facing teams that played Division 3 football, which is farcical really and an argument for another day.

There is a sense that this Kerry team is just a tweak or two away from mounting a real challenge. A worry is, we have no idea what way Kerry line up and what way they will play. But maybe that’s just how Eamonn likes it.

It may be a bit of a push to say Fitz has the legacy of one of the greatest players the game has ever produced in his hands. A player that deserves to go out firing.

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