‘Kerry lads learning on the job’

All-Ireland winning Kerry keeper and selector Diarmuid Murphy joined Cian O’Neill, Mike Quirke and Tony Leen on this week’s Renault

‘Kerry lads learning on the job’

All-Ireland winning Kerry keeper and selector Diarmuid Murphy joined Cian O’Neill, Mike Quirke and Tony Leen on this week’s Renault Irish Examiner GAA Championship podcast. He selected five areas where Kerry impressed in Sunday’s thrilling decider and identified scope for improvement in the replay.


Shut off the scoring zone

“You rarely see Dublin taking on point-scoring opportunities outside that imaginary 30-yard zone around the D. But it just goes to show the pressure Kerry were putting on them.

“For Kerry, it’s a good sign they could ask them the hard questions in the last couple of minutes. In the end, Dublin worked the equalising score well but they’ll be disappointed with those shot selections.

“In the second half Kerry used the extra man well. The positioning of Paul Murphy blocked up that scoring zone. And Dublin weren’t able to work the loop arounds, the man coming off the shoulder. They weren’t able to work those handy scores.”

Shane Ryan’s kick-out strategy

“In general he was very good. His first All-Ireland final, a young man, under severe pressure from Dublin and he found his man more often than not. I think it was about 75% on our own kickout.

“The one thing about Shane, something that will come into his development; he lacks that 70-yard scud missile over the press, that Niall Morgan or Shaun Patton would have. If he can bring that into his armoury, it will be huge for Kerry. If he can get it to our half-forwards, the press is taken out of the game. And with the forwards we have teams will give us more respect and we’ll be able to work our shorter kickouts better.”

Audacity against heavy favourites

“It was a sign of Kerry’s mindset that they were going to take the game to Dublin whenever they could. A team who were 1/6, who were being quoted in bookies in Dublin for the eight in a row at 3/1.

“When it was 15 on 15, Kerry made three goalscoring chances. And were probably the better team.

“There’s no scar tissue there, that the likes of Tyrone, Mayo, Galway might have, It is a brand new Kerry team that haven’t come across Dublin, that aren’t spooked by them. And Dublin aren’t used to being taken on like that and it’s all credit to them that they responded to it with 14 men.

‘Seventeen of these lads played their first All-Ireland final. They’re getting their second in two weeks. It’s learning on the job, it’s manna from heaven for them.”

The midfield selection

“Jack Barry has the potential to be really good footballer. Consistency has been his problem the last couple of years. He has it in him. He was excellent on Sunday. For a guy who has played so little football all summer. Adrian Spillane’s role worked well too. One thing with Peter Keane and the management team, it’s clearly explained what’s expected from you on the field.”

The changed mindset of Kerry’s defenders

“The likes of Tom O’Sullivan and Tadhg Morley, the discipline they showed... They are attacking half-backs but they have worked on the defensive side of their game and that’s their main focus now.

“There were a couple of times on Sunday, the old Tom would have gone, ran forward just chasing after a ball he might have got on. But the mindset has changed. He still gets forward when the opportunity presents itself. But he’s turning into our go-to man-marker in the full-back line. A great thing to have.”


Tracking Jack

“Jack McCaffrey was undoubtedly man of the match. You have to account for McCaffrey. Someone has to say ‘alarm bells ringing, McCaffrey is gone up the field’. It might mean me leaving my man, but someone has to do it. You need to get into that mindset with key players on the opposition team.”

Howard’s way

“Kerry had a good press in the first half, but we didn’t do a lot with the ball we got. We didn’t capitalise on it and get the scores. And Brian Howard became the outball for Cluxton. We had three big guys around the middle and it’s a pity we didn’t identify it, that the lads didn’t call it themselves. Some fella like Adrian Spillane could have cut across him and contested with him. Cluxton sees this, he sees everything.”

Attack misfire

“Going up, a lot of people said we had great forwards but were worried about our backs, but that flipped. David Clifford, Paul Geaney, Stephen O’Brien, did any of them get a six? They’ve a chance to make up for it.”

Listen to the Renault Irish Examiner GAA Podcast on Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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