Settled Kerry can put titles back to back
Published 12/07/2014 | 12:00
Back to back Munster titles is what is on offer for Kerry on Saturday as they put their crown on the line against current All-Ireland and National League champions Cork.
If recent form is anything to go on they certainly have a chance, winning three of their last six meetings with the Rebels.
History may give a better reflection of the task at hand considering the last time Kerry managed to win consecutive provincial titles was in 1990 with a win over Waterford, which was the last in a run on ten in a row.
However, history and form will not be lining up in William O'Sullivan's starting fifteen but his team has by now a settled look to it.
Surprising in the ladies game the goalkeeper is a far more utilised player who needs to be Cluxton like in their approach to play. Amanda Brosnan has taken over at Kerry's number One and her comfortableness on the ball comes from the fact she has played a lot of football as a forward. To date she has been strong under high balls and comfortable with her kick outs. Meanwhile Cork's Martina O'Brien is trying to fill the large boots of the retired Elaine Harte and she will not be happy with her two game to date with all three goals that she conceded put down to errors. She has been vulnerable with her kick outs and Kerry will look to put pressure on her here. Despite this, she is still one of the best-shot stoppers around.
Cork Full Back line v Kerry Full forward Line
In previous meetings, the Cork full back line with Angela Walsh and Brid Stack have always seemed to have the measure of the Kerry forward line. The Kerry tactic of highball into the square that worked a treat late on in the league match in Dingle last March failed in Paric Ui Rinn with Walsh winning a lot of breaking ball. However Kerry's Louise Galvin did give Brid Stack a torrid afternoon and her hard running into the heart of the Cork full back line did cause some havoc and with Louise Ni Mhuircheartaigh showing some of her best form to date. Kerry could well benefit here.
Kerry Full Back Line v Cork Full Forward Line
For years, Cork dominated this side of the field with Valerie Mulcahy to the foe. Kerry have given up early goals to Cork in nearly all crucial games and no doubt Kerry will need the door to be shut for a considerable time. Last season they kept Cork goalless for a complete half and when the goal came, it was from a half back. If Kerry can have more of the same then they could will build a winning foundation.
Emma Sherwood and Bernie Breen come up against Rena Buckley and Briege Corkery. There was a feeling that once Juliet Murphy retired that Cork would struggle in this department however if anything the pairing of dual players Corkery and Buckley has helped increased their fire power as both players are well capable of coming forward and taking their scores. Kerry will hope to contain their Cork counterparts and if that is achieved that will be a good hour's work.
If numbers alone counted, Cork would have the upper hand. They have a full training panel of 38 players to Kerry's 25. Kerry will look to have good cover in the backline if needed and they will need it as Cork with have the firs power of Nollaig Cleary, Orla Finn and the brilliant Eimear Scally to call on. The young minor to date has played just 20 minutes of championship football in her debut year and has scored 3-1. Cork would have the upper hand in this area.