So You’re Saying There’s A Chance?…Here’s The Experts’ Views On Kerry v Dublin

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Kieran Donaghy, shoots for the posts in this year's National League Final. Photo by Dermot Crean

Kieran Donaghy, shoots for the posts in this year’s National League Final. Photo by Dermot Crean

KERRY v Dublin, as always, has been drawing a lot of interest in the media, with pundits up and down the country giving their two cents on what will happen in Croke Park this Sunday.

It doesn’t make great reading for Kerry supporters who hope to see their side beat Dublin in the championship for the first time since 2009. But there still remains a hopeful streak buried beneath the subtext. Here is what the experts have been saying…

Beginning on an optimistic note Eoin Liston says in his article in the Irish Independent; “Kerry are fitter, more motivated, better prepared and organised than 12 months ago. I expect massive improvements this weekend.”

The Bomber expects “Shane Enright to take Bernard Brogan, Peter Crowley to pick up Diarmuid Connolly, David Moran assigned to Brian Fenton with Killian Young on Paddy Andrews, if he is picked to start. I also can also see Paul Murphy being detailed on Ciarán Kilkenny”.

Continued below…

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Darragh Ó Sé is also in defiant mood, even going as far as to tip Kerry for the All-Ireland in his column in the Irish Times. In case you are wondering, Kerry are 4/1 outsiders to lift Sam.

The An Ghaeltacht man writes; “I just don’t accept that there’s as big a distance between the teams as people think. Kerry’s motivation – maybe even their desperation – should make the gap even smaller”.

“I really hope it hurts this group of Kerry players. I wrote earlier in the summer about how Cork have nearly become immune to the shame of losing. It would be terrible if something similar happened to Kerry when it comes to Dublin. Losing to them can’t be allowed to become just any old defeat. It has to hurt more than all the others.”

Mike Quirke is taking a more cautious approach in his excellent article in the Irish Examiner. The Strand Road man looks at how Kerry might cope with the Dublin offensive.

“Against Clare and Tipperary we saw sporadic use of their updated defensive scheme, where they withdrew every attacker back into the middle zone between the two 45s and flooded that area with bodies,” writes Quirke.

“The hope is that by not engaging defenders coming out with the ball high up the pitch without support and being easily bypassed, they drop in unison and try to outnumber their opponents in that middle sector.”

“Kerry want to ideally force a turnover, or at the very least slow down the ball enough to reduce the quality being delivered in to Dublin’s inside forwards.”

“It will be fascinating to see how much joy, if any, Kerry get from their new steel curtain, and how exactly Dublin plot their way through it.”

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte is not ruling out a Kerry upset. He said; “somewhere in the back of my mind there is the belief that Kerry will feel they have taken a beating from this Dublin side rather too often over recent seasons,” points out Harte.

“Dublin are a bit more vulnerable than they have been over the past few years because you can’t take players like Rory O’Carroll, Jack McCaffrey and James McCarthy out of a defence and replace them easily. I know that despite this, everything says it’s Dublin’s to win but you can never rule Kerry out.”

Former Meath footballer Cian Ward is not giving Kerry much hope, as he thinks they don’t have the firepower to trouble Dublin.

“I don’t think Kerry have the scoring power to beat Dublin,” said Ward speaking on the RTE Podcast ‘Jones’s Road’. “You’d always have associated Kerry with having these really dangerous forwards, but they’ve had to change, and I think they’re a more defensive team now. With the form of some of their forwards, I would think they’re not going to be able to flick that switch.”

Former Tyrone defender and once tormentor of Kerry teams, Philip Jordan, looks at how Eamon Fitz’s side can do it.

“If Kerry are to play Kieran Donaghy then they must play him in the full-forward line,” writes Jordan in his column in the Irish News this week.

“I think Kerry will need to score goals to win this game and, in the absence of Rory O’Carroll, Dublin do not have a real physical presence in their full-back line. Donaghy is well capable of exploiting that weakness if he receives quality ball.”

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