Kerry boss Peter Keane believes managers must re-examine their replacement strategies in the wake of the GAA’s decision to reduce permitted subs from six to five.
The move, made as part of the experimental League rule change which turned a black card into a 10-minute sin-bin, is “restrictive”, according to Keane, whose Kerry side has flown out of the traps with three Division 1 wins from three games.
He explained: “We did not introduce Mikey Geaney as our fifth sub against Dublin until the 69th minute. You could have put a fellow on after 62 minutes, but if a fellow got injured or went down with cramp, you could find yourself in a situation — where if you also lost a fellow to the sin bin — where you’d have 13 men and trying to hang onto a slender lead.
“We had eight minutes of added time against Cavan so that would be 16 minutes if you’d made that 62nd-minute change. That is definitely an issue and something we have to be cognisant of when you are on the line.
“If you have a relatively young team and lads are tiring, it’s not helpful. It’s the same for everybody so there is not much use in me crying about it only to get on with it. But you do feel the lack of one extra sub.”
Ironically, of course, the rule will revert to six subs and a reintroduced black card come Championship.
Keane will be without the suspended Brian Ó Beaglaoích for Sunday’s trip to Tuam to face Galway, and he is adopting a wait-and-see attitude on UCC star Sean O’Shea, who plays a Sigerson Cup final on Wednesday night in Portlaoise against St Mary’s of Belfast.
“I have alluded to the fact before that we will have four league games and three Sigerson Cup games in a short space of time and that increases the expectations on the likes of Seanie.”
The Kerry manager reckons David Clifford should return within the next three weeks — “he is in good nick, he is doing a bit of running and he is not far away” — while James O’Donoghue is “back on the field and training away”.
Kilcummin’s Kevin McCarthy is back in the Kerry squad after his All-Ireland winning exploits with Kilcummin while defensive trio Jason Foley, Shane Enright, and Gavin Crowley are also back fully in the mix for selection.