17 Kerry players set for first final experience

Seventeen Kerry players are in line to make their All-Ireland senior final debut on Sunday afternoon.

17 Kerry players set for first final experience

Seventeen Kerry players are in line to make their All-Ireland senior final debut on Sunday afternoon.

From the side put out against Tyrone earlier this month, two-thirds of the starting team — Shane Ryan, Jason Foley, Tadhg Morley, Tom O’Sullivan, Gavin Crowley, Adrian Spillane, Brian Ó Beaglaoich, Seán O’Shea, David Clifford, and Killian Spillane — have never been part of a Kerry senior panel on All-Ireland final day.

Factor in the 11 subs who completed Kerry’s semi-final match-day panel and that figure rises to 17.

Of the 10 players from the semi-final starting team expected to make their All-Ireland final debut this weekend, goalkeeper Shane Ryan, half-back Crowley, midfielder Adrian Spillane, and corner-forward Killian Spillane are not yet in double-digit territory in terms of championship appearances made.

Ryan, Crowley, and Adrian Spillane, all of whom were handed their championship bows earlier this summer, have featured in all six of Kerry’s games en route to the final, while Killian Spillane has just three championship starts.

Jason Foley, Tom O’Sullivan and David Clifford made their 10th championship appearance in the green and gold against Tyrone, while it was an 11th outing for captain Gavin White and centre-forward Seán O’Shea.

By way of comparison, Dublin’s Brian Howard, arguably the least experienced member of Jim Gavin’s starting XV, has played 12 championship games in Croke Park alone and is now facing into his second All-Ireland final.

Only five members of the Kerry team from the Tyrone victory — Paul Murphy, Shane Enright, David Moran, Stephen O’Brien, and Paul Geaney — have played in an All-Ireland senior decider, as have replacement goalkeeper Brian Kelly, Jonathan Lyne, Tommy Walsh, and Killian Young. O’Brien, who has been Kerry’s most consistent performer this summer, was taken off at half-time in both the 2014 and 2015 finals.

Moran is far and away the most experienced of this nine when it comes to the concluding day of the football championship, the 31-year-old midfielder having come on as a sub in the 2008 and 2009 finals, while he started both the 2014 and 2015 showpieces.

Jack Sherwood, in contention for a starting berth this Sunday after impressing upon his introduction last time out, was part of Kerry’s extended panel for the 2014 and 2015 finals, failing to make the match-day 26 on both occasions.

Quirke's Final Preview: Kerry's matchups. The Fenton factor. Walsh wildcard. Gough controversy

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