Kealy: New-look Kingdom must continue rebuilding

NEW Kerry goalkeeper Brendan Kealy believes the county have to look at “the bigger picture” this season as their new-look squad comes to terms with a number of absentees from last year’s campaign.

Sunday’s defeat against Mayo in Tralee means Kerry are facing a battle to stay in Division 1 of the NFL, with ties against Tyrone and Monaghan coming up, but Kealy reckons the priority needs to be to bed new players into their side.

“I suppose this year there really is a bigger picture to be looked at. It’d be nice at the same time to be challenging for honours. But the priority has to be blooding new players and hopefully it’ll prove beneficial later in the year. Tyrone will be a tough match away next Saturday and then Monaghan the week after. We should learnt a lot from those games. The experience is brilliant of playing in league matches against top teams, and that’s the same not just for myself, but other fellas new to the setup. Sunday was disappointing, especially as we just didn’t seem to come back at all when they took over in the second half.”

The retirement of Diarmuid Murphy and withdrawal of Ger Reidy created the opening for Kealy to start in the last four league games. But he is expecting fierce competition for the position from Tomás Mac an tSaoir, currently tied up with the Kerry U21s, and Kerins O’Rahilly’s David Hennessy, who was on the bench on Sunday.

“Tomás is doing well for the U21s and David Hennessy was involved on Sunday. Ger (Reidy) could be back at any time as well, so I won’t be taking anything for granted.”

Meanwhile the decision was taken to switch the Munster U21FC final between Kerry and Tipperary, originally slated for next Saturday afternoon, to Wednesday week in Tralee due to the NFL action involving both counties this weekend. The decision will please Tipp boss John Evans, who is in charge of the county U21 and senior teams, as the Premier county have several players involved with both squads.

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