Former Kerry captain Seamus Moynihan thinks the knock-out format of the All-Ireland Championship could suit his native county.
Runners-up in 2019 after an eight-game run to the replayed final against Dublin, Kerry will only need to win four games if they are to win a 38th Sam Maguire Cup.
A Munster semi-final with Cork is Kerry’s big test early on, but Moynihan thinks the Kingdom have an easier route to the All-Ireland Series in comparison to other counties.
“It has served us well back in the past. Páidí Ó Sé always said it was four steps to heaven. You had two rounds in Munster and a semi-final and final,” Moynihan told.
“If you compare that to a team up in Ulster. Cavan could be playing someone like Down in the very first round and then the winners (might have to) play the likes of Donegal or Tyrone.
“Whereas, in Leinster, unfortunately there is only one show in town. Connacht is more balanced with Roscommon coming into the equation with Galway and Mayo. I think the other teams have taken a backward step there.
“In Munster, it certainly has become more competitive, but you are still looking at Cork and Kerry leading the way.
“In fairness Tipperary, Limerick and Clare are making big strides at the minute and are very, very organised, but it’s still not as formidable or competitive as Ulster.”
With 12 teams vying to be Ulster champions and claim the only route to the All-Ireland Series from the province this year, Moynihan expects a fierce battle in the northern province.
The four-time All-Ireland-winner thinks the redrawn format will hamstring some of Ulster’s stronger counties too, with no back door route available.
“That’s a complete minefield up in Ulster. There are so many teams up there that will put their hand up and say ‘we’re going to win an Ulster championship’ in any given year. That’s the one where knock-out championship is really, really cruel.
“There is such competition and any one of those teams could win and so many teams have come through the back door like Tyrone. They have been beaten and have come through and won the All-Ireland that way as well.
“Knock-out football, I think teams will take anything once they can play. It’s not ideal considering they have done so much training for that, but it’s a window of opportunity.”