Darran O’Sullivan wowed by Kerry defence, but says Tyrone lacked 'balls' to take them on

Darran O’Sullivan wowed by Kerry defence, but says Tyrone lacked 'balls' to take them on
Tiernan McCann of Tyrone in action against Diarmuid O'Connor of Kerry at Fitzgerald Stadium. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Former Kerry footballer Darran O’Sullivan was impressed by new manager Peter Keane's "unbelievably" organised defence in his first league test.

They held Tyrone to seven points, and only two from play, although O'Sullivan said their opponents offered a below-par challenge.

He called Tyrone's reluctance to kick the ball "frightening", their basic skills "poor" and their full-forward line's movement "awful".

Although he doesn't foresee Tyrone being that bad again, he doesn't believe they can win an All-Ireland playing that way.

"When I saw the conditions on the way up to the match I believed the game would have suited Tyrone," said O’Sullivan, a GAA Ambassador with Paddy Power News.

"Tyrone had the wind in the first half and their reluctance to kick the ball was frightening. On the occasions they did do it, their basic skills were poor and they had an inability to pull it off.

"I got up to a high vantage point to watch the game, a perfect view, and the movement in the Tyrone full-forward line was awful.

Kerry players, from left, Killian Young, Kevin McCarthy, recently retired Darran O'Sullivan and David Clifford watch on at Fitzgerald Stadium. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Kerry players, from left, Killian Young, Kevin McCarthy, recently retired Darran O'Sullivan and David Clifford watch on at Fitzgerald Stadium. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

"Kerry's defence was unbelievably well organised on Sunday. They were fit, strong and tenacious in the tackle, a really good unit. And there was someone always there to snuff out the danger.

"At no stage did I feel that Tyrone would open them up. They'd get to a point where you'd need some creativity, or a bit of balls, and really to go for the kick. But too many of them were happier to handpass the ball because it was a safer option."

He maintains that Kerry's defensive structure is just a first step from which they can build a game-plan.

Kerry manager Peter Keane at Fitzgerald Stadium. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Kerry manager Peter Keane at Fitzgerald Stadium. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

"I don't believe Peter Keane set out to be defensive, he's doing things in blocks. He's probably sorting out the Kerry defence first. He's got to build on that.

"The Kerry public will have been happy with that though. I was impressed with Kerry's game management, they knew the few players Tyrone had to kick scores and they didn't leave them the opportunity to get them shots off."

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