TO be fair to UCC they put up a much better performance than the IT Tralee did the week before.
They got off to a great start putting up three points before the Kerry lads knew where they were, but as to be expected the Kerry side got going and Paddy Curtin's two goal salvo took the game Kerry's way. Curtin, in fact, finished with two goals and two points and is beginning to show the form that had Kerry fans all excited about his prospects last year. Another North Kerry man, Listowel Emmets' Conor Cox, shared the scoring tally of eight points when Curtin's goals are converted.
This was a little bit more informative for the Kerry management insofar as there were a few like Cox, JB Spillane and Crowley who might well find themselves involved with Kerry for the National League with the county doing very well for the college, but the overall strength of the county side and the sheer depth of talent at the disposal of Eamonn Fitzmaurice meant that the Kerry side were always going to win.
Did the management learn anything on Sunday last? I think they did. They will use these games to gauge fellows to play the National League and with the absence of players plus individuals tied up with their clubs in the All-Ireland series, it is important that we would have competitive teams taking part in the opening League encounters as with any team in transition, which I believe we are and as the year goes on we will find that out.
Jonathan Lyne had a good game on Sunday last at wing-back. Jack Sherwood did well again at centre-back, but as Eoin Brosnan will come back and probably start there, would it be worth playing someone like Sherwood at corner of full-back to see how he might do there? Now I know that I have said in the past that I think of him as a wing-back, but we have plenty of them. I just feel that this fellow has the cut of a footballer and might do a job where we will require it done.
It's a pity to see some of the team now going different ways (college guys missing out, Finuge and Dr Crokes player preparing for their championships). I know, of course, this is huge for their clubs, but I would love to see things happening around players like Peter Crowley, JB Spillane, Sherwood and even Johnny Buckley, perhaps, might turn out to be invaluable at centreforward when everyone is back.
If the management wants to – and I believe they can – turn up the heat on a few lads, who have been in possession of the jersey for the last few years, that might be a good thing for the players themselves and the team.
On Sunday next we take on Limerick and this once again will see a different set up taking the field for Kerry. That's the one thing about the McGrath Cup: it gives the management a chance to have a look for themselves as, no doubt, they are getting plenty advice from clubs about how good so and so is. Now this is the time for a player to show that extra bit of desire. The opportunity may not come too often for a player.
Right now as I look at the aspiring players I don't see a huge difference in a lot of them, but I do see versatility in a few that might allow the management to pick a
very interesting League panel. Now players be warned – that's what it will be, a League panel with no guarantees for the championship. So every chance given to impress must be grasped. I have my views on who I think might make it and I have a view on who I think right now might not be ready for it.
I know also that there are great supporters and clubmen who have views as well as me, but at this time of year I think it would be unfair to start naming names. I have great admiration for every lad that pulls on a Kerry jersey and ultimately I wish them all well as they vie to put the county colours on their backs and try to represent the county proudly as they carry the name of the Kerry football team into the grounds of other teams throughout the length and breadth of the country and ultimately to Croke Park in the latter half of the year.
I don't envy the selection committee. They will have to pick with imagination as they lay out their stall and, as I said I would not name any one player, versatility might be the appropriate value in players.