Kearns in awe of Kingdom

LIMERICK coach Liam Kearns was at Thurles on Sunday, and went away convinced he had seen this year’s All-Ireland champions in action.

Even allowing for how weak Tipperary were, his native county Kerry produced an awesome display of power which prompted him to declare: “we might as well not turn up at all on June 19.”

Kearns was joking, of course, but admitted he was hugely impressed and agreed that there isn’t a team in Ireland capable of toppling the reigning champions on that form.

“Kerry looked like the all conquering team of the ‘80s. They appear to have everything covered, and most importantly, have a very rich pool of talent.

“They used five substitutes and a player of Ronan O’Connor’s calibre was among them. Seamus Moynihan drops out and wasn’t missed. They must be hottest of favourites to win the All-Ireland.

“They have the same arrogance of the Kerry team of the 1980s; they have the strongest panel and the strongest team since those great days and I can’t see any team in the country knocking them off their perch.

“Kerry now have an excellent blend of youth and experience, can move players around without upsetting the balance of their team. They have great options which the rest of us don’t have.”

“However we will be looking to build on our two displays against them last year when we had them on the rack but couldn’t kill them off.”

It will be interesting to see if we have learned anything from those two games.”

Kearns must plan for the semi-final without the services of Eoin Keating who broke his collar bone in a recent club championship match, while Jason Stokes is back in training after a long lay off but is lacking match practice.

“Eoin has been troubled with the should all season and this is his second break. There is obviously a weakness in that area and he will have to have a plate inserted which is going to rule him out for the rest of the season.

“I’m not ruling Jason in or out at the moment. Since his groin operation we have struggled to get him completely right. He is back in training but has played no match for us since last year, and that is a big drawback for him. We’ve had a horrific year of injuries but they will all be there on June 19. As I’ve said at the start of the season all our energies have been geared towards having one last crack off Kerry.

“On the evidence of what I saw on Sunday, we have a huge mountain to climb. However no two games are a like, and they certainly won’t get as easy off as us as they did against Tipperary.”

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