Declan O’Sullivan believes Killian Young is the best Kerry defender to counter Diarmuid Connolly in Sunday’s All-Ireland final.
Connolly, Bernard Brogan and Paul Flynn must warrant special attention, but O’Sullivan also warned the danger of overlooking “lesser lights” Paddy Andrews and Ciarán Kilkenny.
“You cannot afford to concentrate on just two or three of the Dublin forwards, you really have to play close attention to all of them. Ciarán Kilkenny and Paddy Andrews were seen as the lesser lights, but their performances against Mayo means Kerry will have to keep a close eye on them,” said O’Sullivan on Radio Kerry.
“Paddy Andrews hasn’t got the credit he deserves. He was fantastic in the couple of games I played against him. He certainly has that talent. The big thing for Paddy is that he has got to put back-to-back performances together and play as well in the final as he did against Mayo to meet expectations. He came in under the radar against Mayo and now his cover is blown.
“The big thing for Kerry is they need to get their defensive systems right, get their match-ups right.
“There’s a few players that are not playing that well, maybe Paul Flynn didn’t have his best day (against Mayo) and Dean Rock has been out of form. It will be very interesting to see how Eamonn (Fitzmaurice) goes about it. Of course Marc Ó Sé has great experience marking Bernard Brogan and that would be a fantastic battle. I think somebody like Killian Young could go toe-to-toe with Diarmuid Connolly and maybe Peter Crowley on Paul Flynn.”
The five-time All-Ireland medal-winner wasn’t overly impressed by Kerry’s defensive effort in the semi-final against Mickey Harte’s Tyrone.
“Kerry were exposed a good bit and Tyrone could have scored three or four goals. Normally, if you give up that number of goal chances you usually don’t survive to tell the tale.
“So for Kerry, that was a big learning curve that defensively they need to tighten up a bit more. As a unit, even our midfielders and the half-forward line will need to restrict the space and put pressure on the ball coming in.”
Kerry legend Mick O’Dwyer, meanwhile, reckons the Kingdom forwards must press up on the opposition defence to force Stephen Cluxton to kick long.
“Kerry should go back to the old style of man-to-man from the kick-outs. That will be very important. I don’t think Cluxton will be kicking the ball out, he will kick short. It is up to our forwards to go man-to-man on their backs and put pressure on Cluxton to put the ball in the air and if they do, that will make a big difference to Kerry winning this All-Ireland.
“At the present time, we have two midfielders who are second to none, Maher and Moran. If the ball is in the air with those two guys hanging about, they will certainly win it.”
He added: “Kerry-Dublin games are always very special. We had some great years against Dublin. They beat us in ’76 and ’77, but then we had the satisfaction of giving them a right hammering in ‘78 by 17-points.”
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