Pat Spillane believes how his Templenoe club-mate Tadhg Morley is now playing proves Kerry are no longer arrested by fear.
Morley was superb at centre-back in the county’s Division 1 final win over Dublin, although Spillane says his versatility can make him useful in more advanced positions.
“Outside of the fact that they’re laying down a marker (in the league this year), Kerry were conservative for the last two years and that wasn’t playing to Kerry’s strengths. Tadhg would get the ball at right (half) back and his only contribution with the ball was to pass it to the fella sideways and point to somebody. There was fear in them, it was safety first. There was no attacking. Now, he’s his own man and this is the one big change. I think Éamonn Fitzmaurice has got the balance right between defence and attack and now they’re off the leash.”
Even though Spillane has issues with how a humble outfit like Templenoe are going to be hurt in league games with having three players in the Kerry camp (Morley, Gavin Crowley and Adrian Spillane), he is ecstatic that Morley is doing the club proud.
“Tadhg’s a great lad. We’re privileged in Templenoe. We had three that played in the league final. It’s brilliant for the club. Tadhg is very mature, a great reader of the game. He can play forward, can play midfield, can play back. He is really mature beyond his years.
“On the negative, we’re as small a club as you can get and the doomsday scenario is that it’s going to be hammering after hammering in the county league because we have fellas tied up with the county. We were without U21s and seniors and An Gaeltacht put a 20-point defeat on us. We’ll see Tadhg and Adrian and Gavin Crowley again whenever Kerry exit the championship.”
Spillane’s point about Morley’s versatility is backed up by Tomás Ó Sé who sees him as someone who can carry out a variety of roles for Kerry.
“He’s clever. The modern player, their roles are more defined, he knows exactly what he has to do. Some days it changes up, you have to do a man-marking job. He gives you aggression, he gives you pace on the ball, he’s a good defender and he gives you something we weren’t doing. We had players in the half-back line who weren’t attacking enough.”
Morley marked Ciarán Kilkenny in both the round game in Austin Stack Park and the Division 1 final in Croke Park and Ó Sé can see him being authorised by Fitzmaurice to shadow the 2016 footballer of the year nominee again if Kerry and Dublin meet again later this year.
“I’ve no doubt if they meet again Morley will get the same job, to pick up Kilkenny no matter where he goes. He’s an adaptable player, comfortable on the ball, he’s physically strong, he’s your complete modern player.
“He’s totally committed, he’s brave and he’s come through and learned a lot in this league. They will go up to Clare and it’s hard one to call. You hate facing those type of games as a player because you don’t know what to expect.”
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