Former Kerry manager Jack O’Connor believes Jim Gavin has no more tricks left up his sleeve after Dublin had to play all their trump cards to defeat Mayo in a replay.
The two tests against the Connacht champions should still benefit the Dubs, something Kerry have experienced in the past, between last year’s All- Ireland semi- final and this year’s Munster decider, which Eamonn Fitzmaurice admitted “brought us on massively”.
However, Fitzmaurice will have the opportunity to counter the replay’s value to Dublin by using the two viewings to aid his tactical preparation, according to his predecessor.
“He’s a bright fellow, and his management team too, so they’ll certainly learn from watching Dublin,” said O’Connor, whose Kerry minor side face Tipp in the All-Ireland final.
“I think Dublin... it wasn’t like Joe Schmidt where they’d be able to keep a few tricks back. They had to throw it all out there to get over Mayo.
“There’s no big secrets to Dublin, they’re a front-foot team and if they get possession in the middle of the field, they can hurt you going forward.”
Kerry may well follow the template of challenging Dublin’s kick-out strategy, which O’Connor set in 2009 when Fitzmaurice was a selector. But, beyond that ploy, O’Connor was coy over the possibility of Kerry having tricks of their own held in reserve.
“I think Kerry will probably ask them a few more questions than Mayo did. Kerry have the experience of playing against them quite a lot and it’s not the first time they’ll be going up against Cluxton and his kick-outs.
“That’s the key really to trying to get a foothold in the game. I mean the last day they literally had a 100% return on their kick-outs – they didn’t kick it very far but they still had the ball.
“I can’t see Dublin getting that kind of return from their kick-outs. Kerry will certainly try to disrupt them.”
Plus if Kerry need to call on any dormant reserves of motivation, O’Connor certainly knows that recent losses will add plenty of fuel to that fire.
“The 2011 final is one that sticks in our craw all the time. So if Kerry ever need motivation, that’s the one they’ve to draw on and there’s quite a share of the players still involved. That was a hard final to lose. Dublin have had the advantage over the last couple of years now and they’ve come through two big games against Mayo. But Kerry are in a good position as well. They’ve had a good build-up to the game, with the four weeks, and I think Kerry are in a good place.”
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