O’Donoghue ‘going well’ as Kerry gear up for Mayo battle

O’Donoghue ‘going well’ as Kerry gear up for Mayo battle
Peter Keane.

Kerry manager Peter Keane has dampened any speculation that star Kerry attacker James O’Donoghue, who missed the Munster final win over Cork, might miss Kerry’s crucial Super 8s meeting with Mayo on Sunday, revealing that the Legion clubman is suffering no ill-effects in training.

Keane also said he has no further injury concerns for Sunday’s meeting in Killarney.

“At the moment things are pretty ok but as we have a few days to go yet before Sunday, and a couple of more outings where something might go wrong to change that scenario. But touch wood right now we are injury free.

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“James O’Donoghue is back training and going well. We are confident enough that Jack Barry is in good shape. Killian Young is back training again and while he hasn’t much match practice done, he is available.”

Kerry are putting a 34-game unbeaten home run in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship on the line on Sunday, that stretches back to July 23, 1995, when Cork defeated them in the Munster Final 0-15 to 1-9. Since then Kerry have played nine different counties in 24 years and have managed to maintain their unbeaten home record.

Keane is aware of this record but says it doesn’t bother him. “It’s a championship game and it’s a big game — judging by what I saw in the shop all day with supporters waiting for tickets to come online. They have been going away and coming back until the tickets went on sale at 4.30 so there is huge demand.

We are expecting a huge crowd. We are hoping there will be a huge Kerry support there as Mayo will travel in big numbers so it’s a big game in its own right. It’s a big game in Killarney and it’s the only show in town and we do not want to lose any game.

The Kerry boss is unsure whether it is more advantageous to Mayo having come through the qualifiers or like Kerry to come in fresh after a four-week break. “I don’t have the choice and I don’t think there is a straightforward answer to it because if you were going week after week; would you be able to survive that? I am not sure Kerry would have the bodies to do it in this stage of the development of a squad that is so young.

“I would hope that we are not going in cold or undercooked on Sunday but we are just looking forward to playing Mayo in Killarney.”

While the Kerry boss was careful not to use the word ‘bully’ when asked did Mayo bully Kerry in the league in Tralee, he did acknowledge his side had lost out on the physical stakes.

“I suppose if you look at the night in Tralee, conditions were not great on the night and that did not help anyone I suppose and it certainly did not help a lighter and inexperienced team like Kerry I suppose if that is the answer you are looking for.”

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