Sheehan looks to work more magic

THERE is no question of divided loyalties for East Kerry manager James Sheehan ahead of this afternoon’s Kerry SFC semi-final against his former side Mid Kerry.

Killorglin native Sheehan may have led Mid Kerry to the county title in 2008 but today he is plotting their downfall at Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney (2.30pm), when a resurgent East Kerry look to upset the odds with a shock victory.

“There will be no divided loyalties, none whatsoever. I have always made it categorically clear to everyone that I am a Laune Rangers man,” Sheehan stated.

“I trained Mid Kerry. That was a job to do. I think I did it reasonably successfully.

“But now I am training East Kerry and I will put in the same effort as I did with Mid Kerry.

“It doesn’t matter who we are playing today. We could have been drawn against Dr Crokes or West Kerry. The fact it’s Mid Kerry makes no difference.”

The build-up to this all-divisional Kerry SFC semi-final has been dominated by the return of 37-year-old Seamus Moynihan to the East Kerry set-up and Sheehan is adamant it was not a gamble to lure the Kerry great back.

“We will only find out today if it was a wise move but anybody left in the championship would love to have Seamus Moynihan in their panel,” Sheehan said.

“If he wasn’t playing well or if he wasn’t fit, then I wouldn’t have bothered the man. But he is playing fantastic football and if he can help in any way then that’s great. Plus he has plenty of experience of the big days, which can only help.”

East Kerry will make a decision this morning on whether Andrew Garnett, Brian Gleeson and Anthony O’Sullivan will start as all three are injury doubts, while Lorcan Daly (knee injury) is definitely out.

Mid Kerry have been boosted by the news that star forward Darran O’Sullivan is fit to feature. The Footballer of the Year nominee limped off with a hamstring injury in last weekend’s quarter-final victory over Rathmore but has reacted well to treatment this week, including a visit to the cryotherapy clinic in Ennis.

With an array of attacking talent in O’Sullivan, Sean O’Sullivan, Gary Sayers, Jerome Flynn and Gavin O’Grady, as well as Donnchadh Walsh impressing in a defensive role, Mid Kerry start as favourites to return to their first county final since 2008; ironically when Sheehan was at their helm.

Meanwhile, six-time All-Ireland winner Darragh Ó Sé could play some role for West Kerry in the second Kerry SFC semi-final in Killarney this evening, against champions Dr Crokes (4pm).

West Kerry manager Paddy O’Connor stated: “Darragh has had a back injury. If he is fit, he will tog off. He won’t be starting. But he may be used.”

The return of Ó Sé should boost West Kerry as they face a team that beat them twice in last year’s championship. But West Kerry have improved this season, highlighted in their quarter-final win over Kerins O’Rahillys.

Ronan Ó Flatharta is expected to miss out for West Kerry, who will need big performances from Marc and Tomás Ó Sé, with Marc to be deployed on Dr Crokes’ ace Colm Cooper.

Dr Crokes have no new injury worries, with Andrew Kenneally expected to start despite picking up a knock in their quarter-final win over Austin Stacks last Sunday. With Dr Crokes in somewhat indifferent form — they threw away a nine-point lead before losing to Rathmore in a Kerry club semi-final, while they surrendered a seven-point lead to Austin Stacks last week — West Kerry will fancy their chances of pulling off a shock.

But Dr Crokes’ mean defence and the scoring threat of Cooper, O’Leary, Daithi Casey, Jamie Doolan and Brian Looney should be enough for the Killarney club to advance.

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