Kerry SFC preview: Would it be facetious to suggest teams in the championship breathed a sigh of relief when Dr Crokes exited the competition back in mid July?
Hardly. The shadow they had cast over the rest of the opposition had been long and dark. Austin Stacks will need no reminding of just how outclassed they were at this stage last year. Trailing by eight at the break, they were eventually beaten by double that amount.
Coming into the month of haunting, if memories of that game spook them into turning out a performance then all well and good.
Back then, veteran William Kirby was on the bench. Now he’s starting, putting in good shifts before a younger pair of legs takes over. Daniel Bohan is another option from the bench. Kieran Donaghy will be buzzing for this game just as much as he was for last month’s All-Ireland final. That he is in close to career-best form will ensure Mid Kerry are forewarned and forearmed.
Mid Kerry have their own stars in the likes of Darran O’Sullivan and Donnchadh Walsh. Being able to call on Sean O’Sullivan from the bench is another useful piece of artillery for manager James Sheehan, who insists there’s plenty more in his team.
They’ve also looked steady at the back with Pa Kilkenny, Aaron Cahillane and Ronan Murphy pulling the strings. Only Mid Kerry’s lack of a test must be concern going into final. Stacks, who have no end of motivation after last year never mind the 20 yawning years without the Bishop Moynihan Cup, have at least ploughed on when they’ve encountered difficult patches in a couple of games.
The divisional side trade on speed and movement but the conditions mightn’t be conducive to such attributes. How and where Donaghy operates may just be the difference.
- Verdict: Austin Stacks
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