People will have noted Tony Brosnan’s nine-point contribution to Dr Crokes’ Kerry SFC quarter-final success against Legion in Fitzgerald Stadium last Sunday afternoon, writes Peter McNamara.
And if you hadn’t noticed, five of those scores were taken in open play as Crokes overawed their neighbours, 1-20 to 0-9.
Brosnan’s been making waves of late, more so than in previous spells of good form, it seems his game has moved on now to a level in which becoming a regular with Kerry is essentially an expectation.
Of course, he will have to hold his present form, and potentially even build on it, but Brosnan could join James O’Donoghue, Paul Geaney and David Clifford in giving the next manager in the Kingdom truly frightening attacking options for their inside forward line.
Brosnan, currently, is in predatory finisher mode which makes him a viable option for a corner-forward slot if he does kick-on into 2019, as an addition to the regular offensive sextet with his county team.
Thing is, might that then allow for Clifford to be repositioned in the half-forward line, possibly even as conductor of the orchestra at centre-forward?
Clifford tallied 1-4 including three frees for East Kerry in their eight-point triumph over South Kerry in the other Kerry SFC quarter-final contested in Killarney last Sunday.
Clifford slipped his goal as efficiently as ever in the second half and his presence in and around South Kerry’s defensive ‘D’, particularly in the first-half, proved as problematic for East Kerry’s opponents as one could imagine.
Yet, for a lot of the second half, Clifford could be seen to drift a little out to the half-forward line.
There, the youngster created and developed attacks and it reminded everybody that he represented a wonderful option for the Kingdom further out the field than we have seen at senior inter-county level, thus far.
Some might baulk at the idea because he is such an outrageously ruthless scorer, but, in time, and as Clifford evolves physically, we could see him act as a midfield option for Kerry.
Physically, already, Clifford is an incredibly strong athlete. However, he could get to the point whereby he has the presence to excel in the middle-third just as much as he is doing as an inside forward.
In fact, Clifford could take over from Kieran Donaghy in that sense, where he could easily switch between such roles during matches.
Nevertheless, with Brosnan’s form now making him a beacon for a starting slot, would Kerry be wise to place Clifford in that centre-forward role? Possibly.
Or they could keep him in at No 14 and withdraw O’Donoghue to run the show from No 11, given his invaluable experience.
Not that positions mean as much as they once did, but Kerry do possess players with attacking versatility which they will surely use to their advantage.
Obviously, the primary objective for the next manager they appoint is to engineer a sound defensive structure that cuts the mustard at the highest grade.
Anybody with any sort of clue at all will understand that area is their greatest weakness. Still, Kerry’s offensive options seem to be extremely strong again, and a lot of the players sticking their hands up in that regard have plenty of years on their side.
The loss of Donnchadh Walsh, even as an option off the bench, was a blow, but whoever it is that replaces Éamonn Fitzmaurice actually has a brilliant opportunity to generate a team of their own, safe in the knowledge that there is attacking craft and flair in abundance to build around.
In Clifford alone, Kerry essentially have an unmarkable forward.
I read a piece on the42.ie that inadvertently concerned me.
Michael Fennelly, when asked if he was interested in strength and conditioning coaching, or coaching in general, in the GAA at a high level, gave this response: “Without a doubt, yeah,” he said. “Very much interested. I’m probably more interested in the coaching side of things to be honest, or even the manager side of things as well. I’ve knowledge in S&C, I’ve knowledge in most of the areas now; nutrition and video analysis. That’s a big, huge plus, so head manager or head coach is where I want to be at some stage.
“But no, I’ve a huge interest in it. I’m trying to hold myself back from getting in because if you go back in, you’re at it four or five nights a week, more. We’re on about the ESRI report with players putting in 30-odd hours a week.
“Managers, selectors, backroom team, they’re probably putting in maybe — I don’t know — 40, 50 hours a week, I’d say. I have no time for that at the moment, to be honest. I want to take a break, to a certain degree, in terms of those commitments. I’ve just finished with Kilkenny less than a year now.
“I’m very eager to get into it. I’ve a passion for it, definitely.
“I like working with players. I’d like to work with younger players and develop them maybe in terms of 19, 20, 21. I’d love to develop them more maybe if it’s strength, the mental preparation or whatever it may be, just small things to try and improve players.
“That’s where I’d like to go in and observe maybe teams, but in due course.”
It’s a bit worrying that we have ex-players of the calibre of Fennelly ‘holding back’ from volunteering his time because the commitments are simply too great.
I am 32 now and, in a few years, would like to dig in with a team in my own club, Nemo Rangers, as best I can, from the sideline.
However, reading about the number of hours required would temper your enthusiasm.
Of course, Fennelly is mostly referring to the inter-county scene.
Yet, in, say, four or five years, will that level of work be needed to contribute at club level, in order for success to be a tangible possibility?
If so, I might not be able to contribute after all.