Weeshie's Week

Tipp will be tricky but All-Ireland is between Kerry and the Dubs

June 9th, 2015
by Weeshie Fogarty

One thing is certain as Kerry kick off their championship away to Tipperary next Sunday and that is, the winners will come out of a small group of counties as has been the case for the last fourteen years. Kerry, Cork, Dublin, Galway, Tyrone and Donegal have shared the victories during this time and there is very little to convince us that some other county is going to upset the chances of the winner emerging again form these six.

 Mayo have been knocking on the door for a few years and indeed they had the greatest chance of all last year when in those two superb semi-finals against Kerry they surrendered big leads to be caught on the line by Eamon Fitzmaurice's men.  Galway and Roscommon will test them well in Connaught this year however with the back door system Mayo will reach the quarter finals one way or another and they have the big time experience of Croke Park to trouble anyone. John Evans has done amazing work with Roscommon, having players from two very successful under 21 sides to call on but even he has hinted their day is yet to come pointing out the youth in his team and the aging profile of most other counties.  Transferring success to the senior level is another kettle of fish. If we see the Killorglin man on the sideline in Croke Park August weekend then he will have had a great year.

Ulster as always is a mine field; I have a fancy for Donegal to come through with Monaghan the dark horses for a very good run helped by the qualifiers. Donegal taught Dublin a salutary lesson last year in the semi-final and they in turn suffered the same fate in the final against Kerry. I am a firm believer you learn much more from defeat that victory and Dublin and Donegal will have spend hours studying the DVDs of their defeats and both counties will be there in the final shake up. Tyrone have just won the under 21 final and it will take a few years for those lads to mature but Mickey Harts time is running out fast and he will want to lay down a marker as they await the losers round.

Dublin are the bookies favourites and rightly so, the strength in dept of their squad is massive. In winning the league it is evident they have learned a lot from the loss to Donegal last year. They went into that semi-final gung-ho and amazingly so naïve in their approach. The open full out attacking football of last year has now been tempered with more defensive play. The return to full fitness of Kieran Kilkenny has been a huge addition and his displays at centre forward with free scoring Dean Rock inside him has only added to their superior scoring power.

Their one big problem however and they have no control over this, is the fact that they will enter the quarter finals without any real test in Leinster. This is the reason they were caught last year and even the previous year Kerry nearly slipped them. A lot of discussion has taken place in relation to their farcical wins in Leinster, and rightly so but very few have praised them on their superb team play, foot passing, scoring, tremendous fitness and skills. For me they are a joy to watch and a credit to the game. If they fail to win the All ireland this year it is because they will lose to Kerry. I feel the only side in Ireland capable of beating the Dubs is Kerry.

And that brings us to our own boys, of course they had lady luck on their side a few time last year but this is a facture you need in any championship win be it even a junior East Kerry league final. Can last years memorable win be repeated, back to back titles, its going to be so difficult.  Plenty questions will be answered especially in relation to our defence. Will Mark o Se and Aidan o Mahoney have the legs again for it this year? , will Tommy Walsh regain his form, what part will Colm Cooper play, can James o Donoghue repeat the stunning form he displayed all last year. And what about Paul Galvin, will his come back be of benefit to the squad, his great experience and will to win should negate the loss of Declan o Sullivan. If, and we can only surmise at this stage the cards fall right for Eamon Fitzmaurice then with the added experience gained by the younger players last year then the Kerry side line, the best in the country in my view will give it a right good shot. Once the serious injuries are avoided I believe Kerry are a better side even this year and remember with David Moran and Anthony Maher paired at mid field we have a great platform to begin with.

The manager isn't afraid to make the big hard calls when needed, Kerry players generally are well grounded, that's in their DNA, its going to be as always fascinating to see what this particular group of players, youth mixed with a few ageless veterans are capable of. Its always the same when Kerry start out, and the biggest plus of all we have the men on the line with tons of All ireland experience. No other county can boast of this.

And what about the men across the county bounds. How was Cork so poor in the league final, were they holding something back? They had some great wins up north in the run to the final but they haven't won a championship in Killarney for twenty years. If both qualify for the final I certainly don't see Kerry as the certainties for another Munster crown as what many pundits express. Both counties begin their voyage next weekend and we will learn a great deal about the preparations and mind set of Kerry as they are away to Tipperary.

Now what can we learn from Tipp's win over Waterford, well they kicked 1-21 from play, dominated all areas of the field, they have a nice sprinkling of youth and experience, football is in a rude sate of health in the county following their minor win a few years ago and their Under 21 All Ireland final appearance against Tyrone recently. Their manager Peter Creedon has stated a few time that their objective was to meet and test themselves against Kerry and find out exactly where they are at. Well they have got their wish and we will see next Sunday in Temple Stadium. They have had under age success against us in recent years, and their are even whispers in the county about winning an All Ireland football title in the near future.

 Last year Clare put Kerry to the pin of their proverbial collars in Ennis and it took a corner back, Paul Murphy to score the goal to settle the nerves. A comprehensive win next Sunday for Kerry would tell a lot about their state of mind, its been a long wait from the last league game while Tipp have had that recent game against Waterford, a cake walk of course of was, but it is championship preparation one way or the other.  Despite the worry of the recent spate of injuries anything but a Kerry win would be the sensation of the decade and much more than that.

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