The match-ups Kerry must get right to survive

The Kerry forward line can do serious damage but you’d have to worry about the supply of ball they are going to receive, which makes this All-Ireland final a bridge too far for them.

The match-ups Kerry must get right to survive

The Kerry forward line can do serious damage but you’d have to worry about the supply of ball they are going to receive, which makes this All-Ireland final a bridge too far for them.

David Moran is playing out of his skin but Dublin have too much athleticism and power in the middle section, so their forwards will get a lot more chances than the Kerry forwards will.

For Kerry to win the game, they need to convert 100% of their attacks and for me, that’s not realistic.

When they get the ball, they will start to feel under pressure to do something special.

If Dublin convert 60% of what they create, they will win the game comfortably, so that’s why my match-ups are focused primarily on how Kerry hold the Dublin forwards, because I’m worried about Kerry from midfield back.

Jack Barry v Brian Fenton

Personally I feel Fenton at this point in time is unmarkable. Adrian Spillane has been picked to start and we have to take the team at face value.

Brian Fenton
Brian Fenton

But you’d have to suspect Jack Barry will be asked to shadow Dublin’s Mr Invincible at some stage of the afternoon.

Barry has done a number on Fenton the last three times they’ve met, but this is not the Jack Barry we saw in the league. He’s had very little football.

He came on the last day against Tyrone with a view to doing this role in the final, but for me it’s the biggest gamble of all considering you’re pinning your hopes on a guy who hasn’t played a lot of football.

On top of that, in Fenton, you are taking on a guy who is the most composed, complete footballer in the country, so hoping to take him out of the game for the fourth time in a row is a big ask.

If Spillane doesn’t start, he will come in and have to finish the job off, because there’s no way Barry has 80 minutes in him.

This is Kerry’s biggest gamble and if it backfires it could be the winning or losing of the game.

Tadhg Morley v Paul Mannion

Tadhg Morley
Tadhg Morley

Morley did a decent job on Cathal McShane after Foley’s struggles against Tyrone, and he could pick up Mannion.

I can’t think Foley is good enough to mark Mannion yet. Mannion can be quiet in games, in fact he can be largely anonymous and then spring to life and hit you for 1-3 or 1-4 from play very quickly, which can kill you.

Curbing Mannion’s influence will be a key goal of Kerry’s.

Tom O’Sullivan v Con O’Callaghan

All week I thought Tadhg Morley would be on O’Callaghan because he has the physical strength to match him, but the more the week has gone on I’m thinking O’Sullivan — who did such a number on Peter Harte and Jamie Brennan — is the man for this job.

Con O'Callaghan
Con O'Callaghan

I like this match-up and I hope Kerry give him 15 minutes and see how he goes.

A good result for any of the Kerry backs against O’Callaghan over 80 minutes will be 1-5 or 1-6, they need to expect that.

Mannion and Rock are more markable but O’Callaghan at this moment in time is so direct, he knows only one way and those are the players who give you nightmares.

He will get more room against Kerry than he got against Mayo so he could have a field day.

Paul Murphy v Ciaran Kilkenny

This is a match-up Dublin will like. Murphy is tenacious and good going forward, but he’s not as good defensively and not physically strong enough for Kilkenny.

Paul Murphy
Paul Murphy

Kilkenny seems more hungry for scores, and if this battle happens, don’t be surprised to see Kilkenny spending a bit of time in the full-forward line alongside Con O’Callaghan.

From a Kerry perspective, this match-up and whoever they put on Con O’Callaghan are the two contests that worry me most. Kerry simply must get them right to survive.

Jason Foley v Dean Rock

Foley is obviously a very good Kerry full-back in the making, but he has still a bit of growing and filling out and maturing to do.

Dean Rock
Dean Rock

Rock flies under the radar because he is a free-taker but he does do a lot of damage in All-Irelands Three years ago he was 100% from free kicks, 10 out of 10 , while Cillian O’Connor ‘only’ kicked nine out of 10.

He is unerring from free-kicks, and what that does is it gets him into the game and he can have an influence that way.

He seemed frustrated the last day because he was getting into good positions and Dublin weren’t picking him out, but he will get scores.

Quirke's Extra-time podcast: The final predictions. Who calls it for Dublin by eight or nine?

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up