Kerry have been warned against taking Meath for granted in Navan tomorrow.
Legend Jack O’Shea knows his county are close to reaching the last four and the Royals have nothing tangible to play for.
However, he expects the hosts to target the game as a marker for 2020 when they return to Division 1.
“I think it could be a very tricky assignment for Kerry. It’s still a young Kerry team and I think it’s going to be a big test because even though Meath have nothing to play for, they’d still love to take the scalp of Kerry in Navan.
“It’s a dangerous game, it’s not a case of turning up because they’re going to have to work to win. They’ve had a good season, got promoted, and they won’t want to finish on a downer. They’ll want something to build on going forward.
“A win against Kerry could be a real bonus at the end of the year. Kerry have the talent to win but they have to match with the effort to win this. There is pride for Meath here, it’ll be hostile but if they (Kerry) get the right result, I think it can stand to them but they have to treat this with importance and I think they will.”
O’Shea senses the memory of the draw against Monaghan in Clones last year will stand to the players as they look to confirm their All-Ireland semi-final spot.
“It’s a big occasion for the lads and what happened in Monaghan last year might be a bit of a bonus because they will know they have to put in a performance on the road.”
What pleases O’Shea is how Kerry’s players have been dovetailing with their performances to achieve results. “What’s stood out to me is in the last two games, different fellas have come to the fore. If they get it all together they will be in top gear.
“It’s good to see players coming back to form and the one thing you want to see is players giving their best. If they all get it together they’re going to be a handful for anyone.”
How the Kerry defence have tightened up in their Super 8 games — just one goal conceded in two matches — in contrast to the Munster final when they conceded three has also given O’Shea a reason to be positive.
He points to the work being done by the midfielders and forwards in assisting their backs when they are without the ball.
“The game has changed a lot over the years and as a forward you have to defend almost as much as you attack,” he said.
“It’s how they do it collectively and I think their tackling has improved, their pressure game has improved but your defence is only as good as the amount of pressure the ball is being put under further out the field. I always felt if Kerry do well in midfield they will take the pressure off their defence.”