THE availability of David Moran will certainly enhance Kerins O’Rahillys chances of victory in Sunday’s AIB Munster Club football final at the Gaelic Grounds, but selector and trainer Mark Fitzgerald refuses to view his return from Australia as no more than achieving just that.
The bottom line is that even with a full-strength team, the Tralee side would still be stretched by a more experienced Kilmurry-Ibrickane side.
Moran – whose older brother Brian remains a doubtful starter along with Giles O’Grady – was due home from Australia last night after failing to receive a rookie contract with Melbourne-based AFL club St. Kilda’s. And, he’ll take part in a training session this evening.
“It’s a huge boost,’’ says Fitzgerald. “All along, David has been an integral part of the team. We were obviously sad to lose him, but at the same time we wished him the best in his new venture. Whatever happened, happened. We are absolutely delighted to have him back.’’
Micheal Quirke is due home from his honeymoon today, but the news concerning Brian Moran (David’s older brother) and O’Grady isn’t promising. According to Fitzgerald, it’s likely the management will delay a decision on both players until Sunday morning.
David Moran and Tommy Walsh (who is staying with St. Kilda’s) are lifelong friends and had built up a close understanding playing together over the last ten years. Walsh’s absence in particular forced a change of tactics for the game against Moyle Rovers. “Tommy was the focal point in the attack in the Clonakilty game. The strategy was to try and get the ball into him as quickly as we could. While we have David back, we’re still undecided as to what way we are going to go with the team.’’
Fitzgerald accepts that, on paper, David Moran’s return should improve their prospects of winning. “You would hope it would work out like that on the day. Then again, even if we had a full squad – with Tommy included – we’d still be put to the pin of our collar to win this game.’’
Pleased with how they ‘learned to adapt’ for the game with the Tipperary champions, he says that at this stage they are ‘happy enough’ with their form going into the final. But, he cautions: “we need probably to play every bit as good if not better than we are playing at the moment.
“People are looking at the ‘Kerry/Clare thing‘ (in making O’Rahillys favourites), but it means nothing to us. This is uncharted territory for us. Kilmurry were unlucky to lose the final last year. They were in the final in 2004 and they appear to be going very well again this year. So, from that point of view we would regard ourselves as underdogs.
“We have watched them on DVD and they come across as a solid, honest bunch of players. We hear nothing but good about them. And you don’t get to the Munster final easily.’’
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