Five Things To Look Forward To In Kerry GAA For 2015

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Last year was a great one for Austin Stacks and Kerry football, but what can we look forward to this year? Gavin O’Connor takes a look at 2015 and five factors which could make it a vintage year…


David Moran with Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper after the All-Ireland final victory in September. It’ll be interesting to see how the Killarney man and Tommy Walsh impact on this year’s championship. Photo by Dermot Crean

1. The return of ‘Gooch’ and Tommy Walsh

Marc O’Se recently said that one of the main reasons he decided to stay on for another season with Kerry was because of the return of Tommy Walsh from Australia and Colm Cooper from injury.

It’s something that has every GAA follower in the county licking their lips and also raises many questions; where will Walsh be deployed and can the Gooch return to his best? With the McGrath cup opener against Tralee IT only around the corner, the questions and chattering about two of our most valuable assets is about to begin.

2. The Stacks’ charge for All-Ireland Glory

It’s now 2015, but the 2014 season will still rumble on for a lucky few come Valentines weekend. Avoiding current champions, St Vincent’s raised the hopes for at least making it to Paddy’s day, but in the Rock’s way lie, Derry and Ulster champions, Sleightneil.

Though people would not like to admit it there is always a degree of trepidation for Kerry  sides when they face northern opposition. It’s up to Stephen Stack and his backroom staff to keep his players riding on a crest of a wave and all the way to Croke Park.

Of course Brosna and Ardfert are vying for All-Ireland honours too. Let’s hope for a clean sweep!

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3. How Kerry defend their All-Ireland title

Having the aforementioned Gooch and Tommy Walsh back on board is a great way to start, but as champions, a whole new light will be shone on Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s team this year. One of our great tricks last year was that we kept teams guessing. This was made possible because many of our newer players were unknown quantities and were, to a degree, written off.

One thing Fitzmaurice will want is a better league campaign. Over the last few years we have fought for our division 1 status because of losing the first three or four opening games. Our gaffer would rather prepare his side without that pressure.

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Jack Savage surveys his options at the match on Saturday between Kerins O'Rahilly's and Legion in Killarney. Photo by Dermot Crean

Kerins O’Rahilly’s Jack Savage will be hoping toplay his part in the resurgence of his club this year. Photo by Dermot Crean

4. The town’s ‘big two’ in the County Championship

2014 was as good for the Stacks as it was bad for Kerins O’Rahilly’s. A week before Stacks played the drawn county final against Mid Kerry, the blues scrapped it out for their senior status in a relegation decider against Kilcummin.

There are signs of rejuvenation for Kerins O’Rahilly’s with the return of Tommy Walsh and former Kerry minor Danny O’Sullivan. Added to that, ex Limerick manager, Maurice Horan, has also come on board to aid manager, Barry O’Shea. Against the odds last year, Stacks proved anything is possible. O’Rahilly’s will no doubt feel they have it in them to do something similar.

Wouldn’t it be great to see the two teams duking it in the latter stages of the championship?


Greg Horan made huge strides in 2014.

5. Can Tralee youth make a push for green and gold?

There is an excellent crop of young players from the town coming through that gained a lot of experience in 2014.

Kerry minors, Cormac Coffey, Andrew Barry and Jack Morgan all climbed the steps of the Hogan Stand in September collecting All-Ireland medals as part of the Kerry minor team.

The Rock’s, Greg Horan and Conor Jordan will both be playing U21 for Kerry on the back of a very successful year for their club which shone the spotlight on them. Club-mates, Shane O’Callaghan and Fearghal MacNamara were both on the Kerry panel last year and impressed for the Stacks which will do them no harm in edging towards the first team. For O’Rahilly’s, the creative Jack Savage is also a player on the Kerry radar.

They will all feel they can make that step up, but realistically, if it is to happen anywhere it will be in the backs where a couple of old stalwarts may soon call it a day.

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