Kerry legend and former senior team selector Ger O’Keeffe has urged the Kingdom to attack Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton’s kickouts in Sunday’s Allianz FL Division 1 final.
O’Keeffe wants to see a brave approach from the Kingdom and a change in their system, after Éamonn Fitzmaurice’s men sat deep against Roscommon and stifled the Westerners.
And in that regard, O’Keeffe accepts that Kerry face a “conundrum” when they tackle the Dubs at Croke Park, with a decision to be made on whether they press high or elect to allow the league and All-Ireland champions a platform from which they can build momentum.
O’Keeffe noted: “Kerry’s style has developed, particularly over the league.
“There’s more funnelling back of all attackers when possession is lost.
“Against Roscommon, they brought 15 players behind the halfway line and that completely upset Roscommon.
“But Roscommon kicked the ball out 50-50 into midfield and if Dublin and Cluxton take the short kickout, how do you marry that and have so many behind the ball?
“What system are you going to put in place? If you press up high against the kickout, it’s a long way to get back if Dublin gain possession and they’ll have a runner at some stage.
“That’s the conundrum all teams have with Dublin — allow them to win the kickout and funnel back earlier or do you contest all the kickouts?”
O’Keeffe knows what he would do.
“My own personal view is that they should press up on the Dublin kick-out.
“If you put them under pressure, you can stop them building momentum.
“A moving team at pace with players running is very difficult to stop.
“And Dublin are a momentum team. They have a lot of good runners who can move in all different directions, and run off the shoulder.”
And O’Keeffe believes that Kerry need to win on the basis that they’ve had “enough of losses” against the Sky Blues in recent times.
Dublin won the 2011 and 2015 All-Ireland finals between the counties at Croke Park, while also claiming victory in a 2013 semi-final.
And O’Keeffe conceded: “From Kerry’s point of view, they would like to win it on the basis that they have had enough of losses now against Dublin in recent times.
“But what’s more important is how they pay and how they have developed over the last couple of months.
“There’s no doubt they’re playing better football this year than this time last year.
“That was a tough game against Donegal in Tralee, they went to Castlebar and beat Mayo, went to Monaghan and won, and they beat Cork.
“In previous years, that wasn’t happening. I think they have built up a head of steam and seem to be doing reasonably well.
“They’ll be keen to keep the momentum going.
“Dublin have won all their matches and won so many now that one loss isn’t going to be critical for them. They have to be beaten at some stage.”
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