Kingdom reshuffle for Omagh battle

NO-ONE’S been as surprised by Tyrone and Kerry’s effervescent start to the National League as Mickey Harte and Jack O’Connor, but neither’s complaining.

Opening round victories over Dublin and Donegal have allowed both a modicum of flexibility with their selections for tomorrow’s televised head to head in Omagh, but when O’Connor named his team last night, it hadn’t the experimental feel some might have predicted.

The Kingdom have made three changes, two enforced, for the visit north, which begins with a flight to Dublin today and a onwards coach trip to Carrickmacross for an overnight.

Established No 1 Diarmuid Murphy returns on the rotation basis Kerry will employ with their keepers, but with Tommy Griffin and Donncha Walsh ruled out by injury, Austin Stacks’ Daniel Bohane comes in at wing back, and Cromane’s Sean O’Sullivan replaces his club colleague Walsh at wing forward.

“We had a good start ourselves and Tyrone look to have hit the ground,” said O’Connor. “We were a bit surprised at ourselves against Donegal, but they were understrength and have made five changes (for this weekend).”

The Kerry selectors have options, and good ones at that. Aidan O’Shea retains his place in defence, and with Tommy Walsh and David Moran set to miss the next round of the league (away to Derry), there will be opportunities for others.

“You can’t flake them all in together,” said the Kerry coach. “Will give everyone a go over the course of the League. Tom O’Sullivan and Tomás Ó Sé are due in next week, as are (Kieran) Donaghy and (Mike) Quirke.”

And Tadhg Kennelly? “He appears to be in good shape, and it’s now a question of him getting a couple of club games. He’ll come fairly quickly, though, there are huge store of fitness there, and I’d say his return will be sooner rather than later.”

One man who won’t be returning, though, is Kilcummin’s Mike McCarthy. Overtures to the All-Ireland winning defender have been made, but he has declined the invitation.

KERRY (v Tyrone): D Murphy; P. Reidy, A. O’Mahony, K Young; A O’Shea, M Ó Sé, D Bohane; D. Moran, S Scanlon; P Galvin, Declan O’Sullivan, Sean O’Sullivan; C. Cooper, T. Walsh, Darren O’Sullivan.

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