League final preview: Dublin have so many more ways to win a game

Disagreements in the media over narratives, a scrappy meeting in Tralee three weeks ago and an inexperienced referee provide all the ingredients for a Molotov cocktail of a final this afternoon.
League final preview: Dublin have so many more ways to win a game

The hope will be that the threat of suspensions in their respective provincial championships may prohibit players from lowering themselves into base aggression but that is easier said than done for two teams whose respect for one another seems questionable.

Just how many from Kerry travel for this will also be noteworthy. As measured as it is, many don’t share the same optimism as their manager about beating Dublin in Croke Park for the first time since 2009. When you consider it, weeks, even months are needed to prepare an onslaught against Dublin and seven days may be asking too much, although it may be just as well Kerry don’t have so much time to think about their foes when they’ve been accused of being obsessed with them.

That Shane Enright, Killian Young, and James O’Donoghue are ruled out will hurt Kerry more than Dublin missing the likes of Jack McCaffrey, though it was evident from Tralee that Kerry’s up-and-comers don’t have the same baggage more senior colleagues may carry when it comes to facing Dublin.

Kerry can take comfort from how David Moran has improved in his last two outings against Brian Fenton and Jack Barry will enjoy these environs.

They will also glean assurance from how they were able to stick with and almost beat Dublin in the final straight when they have been found wanting so much from the hour mark onwards.

Yet to beat Dublin, Kerry will need to do something extraordinary like unsettling Stephen Cluxton so much that Jim Gavin has no choice but to replace him.

Cluxton’s speed of restarts will have to be interrupted by diligent forwards and Kerry have been able to do it and force into periods of uncertainty albeit brief ones.

But Dublin are more resourceful and capable of making more like-for-like and even more impressive likelier-for-like replacements. Kerry are getting closer but the champions still have so many more ways to win a game than them and they are only too happy to mix it. Another defeat, providing it isn’t a heavy one, wouldn’t be the end of the world for Kerry. If they get to know the enemy that much more, then a loss may even be a success in the long run.

But Dublin look set to remain the top dogs.

Verdict: Dublin.

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