Kerry forward Paul Geaney has labelled their Allianz League clash with fellow basement battlers Down a “four-pointer” that they must win.
The Kingdom have struggled in recent league campaigns, finishing sixth in Division 1 in each of the last three seasons, and their start to 2016 has been painfully similar.
Losses to Dublin and, more recently, the surprise setback against Roscommon, have left injury-hit Kerry needing to pick up points quickly to avoid another dice with the drop zone.
Down are in the same position, after losing their opening two games, and a third loss for either team would leave them firmly in a relegation battle.
“It is a must-win game, because Down are also down there close to us in the league table,” said Geaney. “It’s nearly a four-pointer, really. If we lose, we are still on zero points and, depending on other results, we could be on our own at the bottom so, yeah, basically it’s a must-win for us. You can’t look at it any other way, really.
“Hopefully, we’ll get the two points out of it, but it will be no easy task going to Newry. They’ll be fighting to survive too and the home games are the ones you want to win. Unfortunately, we’ve already lost to Roscommon at home, but if you can win your home games, then you are guaranteed at least six points, and that would normally keep you safe.
“Because we didn’t win that first home game, we are going to have to make those points up somewhere else, so we have to pick points up on the road and, hopefully, we can do that this weekend.”
Geaney won’t make the trip to Pairc Esler, as he will be at home in Kerry getting through rehab work as he recovers from back and shoulder operations. He has struggled for several years with back trouble and outlined a painful list of issues, including a broken vertebrae and, more recently, cysts on his spinal cord which had to be removed. The 25-year old, who has been announced as a Sky Sports Living for Sport athlete mentor, believes his back trouble is finally over.
“I think it’s manageable now,” said Geaney. “I wouldn’t see myself as having a back problem now, to be honest. I’ve rehabbed it. Some people have groin issues and hamstring issues and things like that, I don’t have anything like that. I have good hips and those sorts of areas are good. It’s just the back, which sometimes causes a tight hamstring, but that’s about it. So I wouldn’t see it as a major issue going forward.”
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