Eastern promise delivering in spades for Keane’s Kerry

Earlier this week, a graphic posted on Twitter by Mayo GAA blog Ah Ref! revealed that players from the west of the county had seen the most action in this year’s Allianz League campaign to-date with 45%.

Eastern promise delivering in spades for Keane’s Kerry

Earlier this week, a graphic posted on Twitter by Mayo GAA blog Ah Ref! revealed that players from the west of the county had seen the most action in this year’s Allianz League campaign to-date with 45%.

The north, once the stronghold, was next best with 21%.

Consider over a third of Kerry’s panel last Sunday came from the east of the county and that the Dr Crokes men have yet to return and it could be argued that they are the dominant division.

They certainly are in terms of the county championship with Kilcummin having joined the senior ranks alongside Crokes, Legion and Rathmore to comprise half of the competition’s clubs.

And even without them it won’t be too surprising if the divisional side repeats last year’s run to another semi-final and possibly beyond. It doesn’t shock East Kerry manager Gerry O’Sullivan either that some of the players he had at his disposal are also making waves.

They’re going well and it just goes to show that the county championship is a shop window for making the county team.

Here’s how Firies’ man O’Sullivan assesses four of his 2018 players currently impressing in the Kerry team:

Jack Sherwood (Firies).

“I might be a small bit biased but having said that Jack Sherwood is a very good footballer. He’s very comfortable on the ball and every time he’s on it he’s looking up and forward.

"You don’t know what happens in squads and some managers don’t like players or just don’t get on with them for one reason or another but Jack Sherwood’s football for the last number of years for club and East Kerry has been exceptional.

"I always felt he could do a job for Kerry but I was delighted as a club manager that he wasn’t in with Kerry because he could play with us. He didn’t nail down a position like I felt he deserved to when he was there previously for three or four years but he looks very comfortable there now.”

Dara Moynihan (Spa).

“He’s a great young fella with a great attitude. He never stops, keep busy the whole time, is back in defence and is able to get on the end of a couple of moves to put the ball over the bar.

“It is a pain for any defender to mark him because he can pop up anywhere from the half-backs to the full-forwards. He’s very easy to deal with; he never missed training.

"He’d prefer to miss something more important than training or football and he’s very good in the dressing room too.”

Kevin McCarthy (Kilcummin).

“The Kilcummin boys were great to have in the dressing room last year and we were delighted to see them go on and win the All-Ireland even though we’ll miss them this year.

“Kevin got a bad injury with East Kerry, he broke his hand and he did it again in the Munster final (with Kilcummin). It was great to see him come back for Kerry during the League. He’s an engine and I think he’ll be a great option for Peter Keane.”

David Clifford (Fossa)

“Honesty is a good word to describe David - he’ll give you everything. For such a young guy, he’s very vocal. When you talk to him you know his head is screwed on. He doesn’t make any wild statements and he’s very focused on what he wants to do.

“He’s been managed well through his club and up through the county and he’s very much like a lot of the players coming through in that there are no airs or graces about them. They just get on with the job.”

And more to come?

“There’s Chris O’Donoghue, Niall O’Donoghue. They’re both with the (Kerry) 20s and you’ve Seán O’Leary who’s obviously with Kilcummin in senior this year.

“Paudie Clifford is another guy who springs to mind. There are a lot of good footballers and to make a county panel now you have to bring that little bit extra to make the step up. Evan Cronin was with the juniors last year and in another year he might be putting his hand up.

"Dan O’Brien is another and if he had been fit for last year’s championship he might be in the shop window but he’s back playing football and is only 20.”

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