Kerry To Put Out The Northern Lights Again

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Gavin O’Connor says Kerry are likely to face a more negative style of football from Monaghan this Sunday, but that might be no harm in preparation for later this year…

Before, Bryan Sheehan, was taken off becuase of a back injury he was in fine form from the dead ball. Photo by Dermot Crean.

Bryan Sheehan’s excellent dead ball accuracy could be a big loss to Kerry this Sunday. Photo by Dermot Crean.

KERRY will once again face northern raiders at home in this league campaign, having dispatched of Donegal with some exciting, open football.

Surely Monaghan will come with the shutters down?

For the Donegal game, I got the three point win prediction correct, but I was off in how I thought the game would pan out in terms of style.

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The two sides are currently in a healthy position, with both on six points and Monaghan one place ahead of Kerry – who lay in third – because of a better points scored difference.

Whoever wins on Sunday will almost certainly book a place in this year’s semi-finals.

With players like James O’Donoghue, Colm Cooper, Marc Ó Sé, Aidan O’Mahony, Donnchadh Walsh and Paul Galvin still without a run in the league, a couple of extra games could be very beneficial for championship preparation.

There are three changes in the Kerry team, Shane Enright, comes in for Paul Murphy who, after surviving a game without a black card, managed to pick up a back strain which has put him out.

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Brian Kelly returns from injury, reigniting that friendly rivalry he has with Brendan Kealy in the battle for the number one jersey.

Kealy will feel disappointed after putting in a few solid performances, in particular with regards kick-outs, but Kelly is there on merit from last year.

Healthy competition between both keepers can only mean good things for the Kerry team.

Sunday will be a landmark moment for Alan Fitzgerald, who will become the first Castlegregory player to start a competitive Kerry game in 30 years.

Fitzgerald has impressed, coming on as a substitute in the previous two games against Cork and Donegal, as he replaces Bryan Sheehan who is out because of a rib injury.

Sheehan is big loss against a team like Monaghan who now will be happy to foul outside the fifty knowing Sheehan won’t be there to pick them off from the dead ball.

Those duties will most likely fall to David Moran, who has it in his locker to go long from the ground, but not with the regularity of the Cahersiveen man.

Monaghan’s focal point in attack will be full-forward, Conor McManus. Hopefully, Fitzmaurice opts to stick with the assigned positions and leaves Mark Griffin on McManus.

Against Donegal, Griffin left Micheal Murphy without a score from play, with the All-Star eventually moving to the half forward line to find more influence.

For Griffin, another good test against a top inter-county full-forward could further cement his place ahead of the return of Marc O’Se and Aidan O’Mahony.

The war of attrition expected in the Donegal game didn’t materialise, but you’ve got to feel with Monaghan’s reputation as committed exponents of the ‘northern brand’ they will not make the trip down with positive football at the forefront of their minds.

So far, Kerry’s games in the league have been open. It might not be any harm to go up against a resolute blanket defence in preparation for what could be in store later in the year.

Football is constantly evolving and the league is the best place to learn, tweak and experiment.

Verdict – Kerry by 2 points 

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