What would a combined Dublin-Kerry starting 15 look like?

Ball or grenade - let's throw it in. Based on a combination of form and class, who should make the combined Dublin-Kerry fifteen right now?
What would a combined Dublin-Kerry starting 15 look like?

BACK TO HIS BEST: Dublin's Brian Fenton. Pic: ©INPHO/Evan Treacy

1 Shane Ryan (Kerry): Hasn’t conceded a goal from play this entire season – Shane Murphy was the man between the posts for Darren McCurry’s three-pointer at the end of the league. He has been able to vary his kick-outs more this year and doesn’t look as hesitant as before.

2 Lee Gannon (Dublin): Not really a find when the flying Whitehall Colmcilles man was expected to make the grade from a long way off. Has stood out the last two games and given an otherwise too familiar Dublin defence a fresh look and impetus.

3 Jason Foley (Kerry): Clearly benefitting from Tadhg Morley sitting in front of him but when Foley has been isolated on his man he looks extremely comfortable. His speed gives him a lot of confidence too but more than anything he looks a calmer player this season.

4 Tom O’Sullivan (Kerry): Probably Kerry’s best Croke Park player, O’Sullivan carried on where he left off against Tyrone last year with another commanding show in the win over Mayo. The two-time All-Star is only second to Lee Keegan for all-round ability as a defender.

5 James McCarthy (Dublin): Absent against Cork, McCarthy’s return to the team wasn’t enough to save Dublin from relegation and he cut a frustrated footballer at the end of last season but he’s one of a few multiple All-Ireland winners who look noticeably improved in the Leinster SFC.

6 Brian Howard (Dublin): Versatility in abundance and boasting incredible balance, Howard is exactly the calm presence Dublin need as their lynchpin in the back-line. No doubt Morley has been impressive sweeping this year but Howard swings it on recent form and consistency.

7 John Small (Dublin): Electric most times, Gavin White would have been our selection had he not been so poor in the Mayo game when he coughed up too much possession. Small has delivered more consistently and has an aggression that few other defenders demonstrate.

8 Brian Fenton (Dublin): Looks back to his brilliant best after a difficult league when it seemed at times that he was going through the motions. The heavy training sessions Dublin were purported to have done during that time took a lot out of him but he is reinvigorated.

9 Diarmuid O’Connor (Kerry): Up to the Cork game, he was a real footballer of the year candidate but his displays since against Limerick and Mayo have dipped slightly. Jack Barry performed better in the Munster final and David Moran starred the last day but O’Connor’s 2022 has been a coming-of-age season.

10 Ciarán Kilkenny (Dublin): Kilkenny has more All-Ireland SFC medals than most people can dream of but if he doesn’t finish his career with a footballer of the year award it would be a real pity. His consistency levels are untouched and when others were struggling in the league he stood up.

11 Seán O’Shea (Kerry): Looked a commanding player when Kerry saw out the win over Mayo even if he is not playing as advanced as he was last season - a consequence of the Kenmare man being one of the best tackling forwards Jack O’Connor has at his disposal.

12 Stephen O’Brien (Kerry): At 31, he like Paul Geaney might have been considered more a finisher than a starter but he has been Kerry’s in-form forward based on their last three games. Can still round a defender and earn a free with his close if slightly unorthodox control.

13 Paudie Clifford (Kerry): Not the championship return to Croke Park he would have wanted against Mayo last time out after his difficulties with Conor Meyler last year but he’s been an influential force for Kerry across the season. Cormac Costello and Dean Rock are finishers but Clifford provides more in general play.

14 David Clifford (Kerry): Lame as he appeared to be, would anyone else on the Kerry team have scored that first-half goal against Mayo (as much as O’Brien’s lay-off for it was perfect)? No, Kerry have learned the hard way that taking their generational player off even when injured is perilous.

15 Con O’Callaghan (Dublin): In all three of their Leinster games, O’Callaghan showed Dublin exactly what they were missing during the league. Would they have stayed in Division 1 had he been around? Yes. Other team-mates have his directness but none possess his power or poise.

Total: Dublin 7, Kerry 8.

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