Saturday 23 September 2017

Cooper set for new Kerry role as O'Connor plots qualifier revival

Colm Cooper, Kerry, in action against Michael Shields, Cork. Munster GAA Football Senior Championship, Semi-Final, Cork v Kerry, Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Cork.
Colm Cooper, Kerry, in action against Michael Shields, Cork. Munster GAA Football Senior Championship, Semi-Final, Cork v Kerry, Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Cork.
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Kerry are poised to relocate Colm Cooper to full-forward for their qualifier match with Westmeath on Sunday, a departure from his regular role as the team's No 13.

Kerry are keen to place greater attacking emphasis on the seven-time All Star, and with Kieran Donaghy struggling with form, Cooper is expected to be released to the edge of the square and become the focal point of the attack.

Donaghy is also expected to start in the full-forward line but he will be given more scope to move outfield as Kerry seek to exploit the pace of Cooper and James O'Donoghue, who is set to take over in the right corner.

Cooper (right) played at full-forward in a recent challenge against Sligo and has been in superb form for his club Dr Crokes since the defeat to Cork last month.

By making such a subtle switch, Kerry hope they can re-energise an attack that scored just 12 points against Cork in Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

Manager Jack O'Connor has admitted that positional switches are in the pipeline, with the team set to be announced tonight.

A No 13 has never lifted the Sam Maguire Cup but Kerry are unlikely to have allowed such superstitions to creep into their thinking despite Cooper being installed as captain again this year.

Darran O'Sullivan remains a doubt for the Mullingar tie, while Peter Crowley is unlikely to be risked after injuring his hamstring, so Brian McGuire may feature at half-back and Bryan Sheehan will return.

O'Connor admits that the scope for change isn't the same as it was in 2009 when Kerry had an "embarrassment of riches".

Meanwhile, Lar Corbett has been named in the Tipperary starting team to face Waterford in Sunday's Munster SHC final.

in gooch we trust page 70

Irish Independent

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