Weeshie's Week

Kerry slaughter the Lilywhites and advanced to an All Ireland Semifinal

August 4th, 2015
by Weeshie Fogarty

Kildare were absolutely terrible, Kerry were simply brilliant. That in my opinion sums up this slaughter of the Lily Whites innocents in Croke Park last Sunday as Kerry marched in to the All-Ireland semi-final. No one in their wildest dreams suspected it would be this easy for the Sam Maguire holders even though they were hot favourites to advance. Never in my life of watching big games in Croke Park have I seen seven goals scored in one game and even more amazing all scored in the second half. It was dazzling football from Eamon Fitzmaurice's charges. I have constantly written here that when given room and Croke Park its theatre there is simply no other county in Ireland like Kerry capable of displaying all the skills of the game. So let's give credit where credit is due.

Last Sunday we were treated to everything that is great and good about Kerry football. Every player involved comfortable on the ball, the range of foot passing over long and short distances all delivered with pin point accuracy, players constantly running into the open spaces for the passes,  majestic fielding especially by David Moran and Anthony Maher. This pairing are the real deal, the best in the country and not just on last week's display but both men have complemented each other so much that I am beginning to come to the conclusion they are probably the best double pairing I have seen in the green and gold.

I tread warily here and know its early days yet but over the years we have seen magnificent Kerry men around the centre, Paddy Kennedy, John Dowling, Mick o Connell, Jack o Shea, Darragh o Se to name just a few and they in turn were partnered in this position by other great players., But now I believe David and Anthony are equally brilliant fielders, workers, and passers of the ball. They complement each other beautifully. The Kildare midfielders Tommy Moolick and Paul Cribbin came into this game with glowing reputations but were simply outplayed in all facets of midfield play by the Kerry men. 

Gaelic football in today's world as opposed to years gone by and I refer to the sixties, seventies in particular is inundated with statistics, dummy teams, blanket defences, swarm defences, sweepers, analysis's, panellists, and experts showing us on TV computer boards  areas of the field where players should run into and where they should not run into. What a player does wrong and how he should play the game is pointed out by these armchair experts, red cards, yellow cards, black cards, and the range of debates surrounding matches is never ending. I believe it's a media thing.  

The whole scenario is mind boggling and while I might be accused of being old fashioned in relation to the GAA world we live in to day last Sunday proved for me, not for the first time, as if proof positive was ever needed that the bottom line is all about the ability of the players on the field and in simple lay man's language how he uses the ball when in possession for those vital seconds during the course of a white hot championship game.

And Kerry are the prime example of what I refer to here, Mick o Dwyer's magnificent players of the seventies and eighties played off the proverbial cuff. Mick often told me that he would let the lads go out and simply express themselves on the field and the one and only order he kept repeating was, keep moving and running into the open spaces. And last Sunday we saw this very same mantra displayed by the present generation of Kerrymen.  Kildare did all right in the first half but when the superb and tireless Donnchadh Walsh volleyed to the net early in the second half the heavens opened and rained goals and we were then treated to a faultless display of Gaelic football.

The wizardry of Colm Cooper, his brilliant fielding behind his man at the railway end goal, turning and guiding the ball, (not blasting) into the net was poetry in motion. Paul Murphy's faultless marking of Kildare's danger man Niall Kelly was a lesson of defensive play as was that of all the others defenders.  Jonathan Lyne, Killian Young, Shane Enright, aided and abetted by the long serving Mark o Se and Aidan o Mahoney, two ageless warriors.  Defending of the highest calibre, nothing new here, the old Kerry refrain close, continuous coverage but without fouling. Qualities you teach young players in your club but a facet of the game, marking being responsible  your own man closely which seems to be absent from many teams in today's world of massed defences.

Last week I wrote here that Kerry had just one decision to make, i.e. Kieran Donaghy or, Colm Cooper on, the high ball or the low ball tacit. Well injury to our captain solved that and again it is evident that Kerry has an easily adjustable perfect choice, plan A or plan B, high ball or low ball.  Steven o Brien was superb, the Kenmare Shamrocks man is a beautiful footballer, 1-4 to his name, and the way he gains possession and spins away from his marker is unique and special in itself, another Kerry distinctive skill. James o Donoghues injury is a big blow to Kerry, he was really on fire and his omission if that happens for the remaining hopefully two games will be a massive blow to the forward division.  We wish him well.

And now the greatest revelation of all for Eamon Fitzmaurice and his mentors, the display of the substitutes introduced.  Darren o Sullivan was back to his brilliant best, there is no greater sight in Croke Park for Kerry fans that to witness the Glenbeigh/Glencar man in full flight. Tommy Walsh's fielding in the middle was wonderful to watch whilst Barry John Keane, Johnny Buckley, Peter Crowley and Paul Galvin all laid down perfect markers and give the men in charge huge options.

I conclude as I began, Kildare were absolutely terrible, Kerry were simply brilliant. Of course the hardest is yet to come and we will probably never again see seven goals scored in a championship game in Croke Park, so saviour the moment.  And of course Kerry might not win the All-Ireland, I am not counting any chickens yet, but last Sunday's display was one to savour, talk about and admire. Sheer brilliant footballing skills honed to perfection behind the locked gates of Fitzgerald Stadium and whatever Eamon Fitzgerald, Cian o Neill, who has the lads in superb condition are preaching and teaching there let's have more of it. The re-played Munster final was a blessing in disguise but now the real work lies ahead.

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