The Kerry star missed Crokes’ 2-7 to 1-4 semi-final replay victory over Laune Rangers with tonsilitis but will return to training tonight and feels the teenage talent in the squad can defy the odds again in Killarney on Sunday (3pm).
“We went into last Sunday’s replay with something to prove, because people were saying we were a top of the ground team,” said Brosnan. “But we ended up doing to Laune Rangers what many thought they’d do to us, ie, hit them hard and fair. Our full-back line is very young - 17, 19 and 19 - but they typified the determination of the side.”
Brosnan, at 25, is hardly a veteran himself, but even he was taken aback on a visit to the Monastery Boy’s national school in Killarney last week, when he spotted a second class team from 1996 that included Crokes’ corner-back Mike Maloney.
“This was supposed to be a bit of a rebuilding phase for the team. We’ve lost six players from last season, so when Rangers went three points up, and it took us 15 minutes to get a score, things looked bleak.
“If we show the same heart, and play to our potential - that’s the key - then we can definitely take South Kerry,” said Brosnan.
Crokes coach Pat O’Shea is quick to credit the club’s minor coach, John Galvin, for the remarkable throughput of talent to the senior side - five of Sunday’s starting 15 are 18 or under, including Kerry minor, Kieran O’Leary, whose two goals last Sunday booked their final place. Maloney, who defied his inexperience in a stellar second-half display last week, is also likely to start, while Shane Doolan, Luke Quinn and Andrew Kennelly were all minors last year.
O’Shea is keenly aware of the importance of Brosnan’s return. however. “South Kerry are a vastly experienced team, with quality all over the pitch. It’s safe to say they would beat half the inter-county sides in the country, so we need all our big guns.”
Brosnan’s illness means he has not trained in over two weeks, but he feels fresher for the rest. Though it’s been a long season, the prospect of a first title since 2000, plus the potential bonus of captaining Kerry next year, should ensure he is an influential figure on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the champions have named the 15 as defeated West Kerry in the semi-final for Sunday’s decider. Denis Dwyer and Aidan O’Sullivan are both available after injury, as is Bryan Hickey, who has returned from Australia, but the selectors will keep the trio in reserve.
South Kerry will field six All-Ireland medal winners in their starting line-up - Killian Burns, Stephen O’Sullivan, Bryan Sheehan, Declan O’Sullivan, Ronan O’Connor and Maurice Fitzgerald.
The final will be preceded at 1pm by the Kerry Club SFC decider between Gaeltacht and Kerins O’Rahillys.
: M. Drummond; G. O’Driscoll, K. Burns, A. O’Connell; D. O’Sullivan, C. O’Connor, S. O’Sullivan; B. Sheehan, J. Sugrue; S. Fogarty, D. O’Sullivan, R. Keane; R. Hussey, R. O’Connor, M. Fitzgerald.