KERRY boss Jack O’Connor has welcomed back Kerry’s prodigal son Aidan O’Mahony who will fill in for the suspended Tomas Ó Sé at right half back, for Saturday’s All-Ireland quarter-final clash with Down at Croke Park.
Micheal Quirke, who came on in the Munster SFC final and rescued Kerry against Limerick, resumes his partnership with Seamus Scanlon as Anthony Maher loses out.
Darran O’Sullivan continues to fill in for Paul Galvin.
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Brendan Kealy insists he is not upset by the criticism he has received over his difficulties gaining aerial possession during this summer’s championship.
Kealy was beaten in the air by Tipperary’s Barry Grogan for a goal in the Munster quarter-final and in the Munster semi-final replay against Cork, Daniel Goulding found the net after dispossessing Kealy. But the Kilcummin player is remaining composed ahead of Saturday’s All-Ireland quarter-final against Down.
“If you make a mistake playing for Kerry you’ll hear about it but that’s par for the course,’’ Kealy said. “Criticism can work one of two ways. Some of it isn’t worth listening to but if its coming from the right people it can be very useful in helping you develop as a player. You just have decide who to listen to.”
Kealy’s emergence as the Kingdom’s new man between the posts this season has not been an easy progression. He’s had to replace three-time All Star Diarmuid Murphy.
“Last season Diarmuid Murphy probably had his best year ever and so coming in after the departure of a player of his stature was always going to be difficult,’’ Kealy said. “There’s no point in drawing comparisons between us. Diarmuid had a superb career and mine is just starting at this level really. It’s all a new experience. As a goalkeeper playing in an inter-county game shouldn’t really be different from playing in a club game. The big difference though is the mental pressure. That’s something which I’m working on.”
Kealy is adamant that Kerry will be fully focused for Saturday’s game.
“I know it’s an over-used cliché but we’re only thinking about one game at a time,’’ he said.
“Even ahead of the Tipperary game that’s all we were focussed on. The Munster final showed there’s no point in looking too far ahead.”
KERRY (SFC v Down): B Kealy, M Ó Sé, T Griffin, T O’Sullivan, A O’Mahony, M McCarthy, K Young, S Scanlon, M Quirke, Darran O’Sullivan, Declan O’Sullivan, D Walsh, C Cooper, K Donaghy, B Sheehan (capt).
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