Saturday 21 October 2017

Kerry-Tyrone combined XV: We picked the best side from Sunday's All-Ireland semi-finalists

Colm Cooper and Sean Cavanagh, as expected, make the team
Colm Cooper and Sean Cavanagh, as expected, make the team

Michael Verney

Another chapter will be written in one of the great modern GAA rivalries as defending All-Ireland champions Kerry clash with Ulster aristocrats Tyrone this Sunday.

Mickey Harte had the upper hand over his Kingdom counterparts in the early to late 2000's winning three consecuitive Croke Park championship clashes, including two All-Ireland finals, but Eamonn Fitzmaurice's side are raging hot favourites with all the experts for much-anticipated the semi-final.

No Tyrone team can ever be ruled out in Croke Park however and here at Independent.ie we've decided to take a closer look and assemble a combined 15 to see which county holds the most aces.

1. Niall Morgan (Tyrone)

A tale of two goalkeepers on a retrieval mission as both Morgan and Kerry counterpart Brendan Kealy have both won their places in their respective starting teams. The Red Hand number 1 edges selection having kept four successive clean sheets during their impressive Qualifier run.

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Tyrone duo Cathal McCarron and Niall Morgan get to grips with Monaghan's Kieran Hughes

2. Marc Ó Sé (Kerry)

Like a fine wine the youngest of the An Gaeltacht brothers continues to perform at an exceptionally high level despite his growing years. Tigerish, tightmarking and extremely comfortable on the ball, Ó Sé would be a guaranteed starter for any team in the country.

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Kerry's Marc Ó Sé

3. Aidan O'Mahony (Kerry)

Similar to his colleague in the full-back line, O'Mahony is still excelling and had one of his best years in 2014. A master at keeping much-vaunted attackers out of the game, the Rathmore man is in the best physical shape of his career and adds serious bite to the Kingdom rearguard.

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Aidan O'Mahony, Kerry

4. Ronan McNamee (Tyrone)

McNamee's star is quickly rising and his man-marking job on Conor McManus in their quarter-final win against Monaghan showed his enormous value to the side. The versatile defender narrowly pips team mate Cathal McCarron for the left corner-back spot.

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Monaghan's Conor McManus forces his way past Ronan McNamee

5. Paul Murphy (Kerry)

A 2014 All Star at number 2 but equally adept on the wing and has been seen to good effect in 2015 during their impressive run to the semi-finals. The Rathmore defender picked up the man of the match award in last year's final and is one of the Kingdom's most consistent performers.

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Paul Murphy has been used to career set-backs, and rejection, which made the achievement of winning an All-Ireland, and being recognised as man of the match, all the more laudable. Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

6. Killian Young (Kerry)

The former Young Footballer of the Year is usually more accustomed to the wing but he has made the centre-back slot his own since the drawn game with Cork. 2014 All Star Peter Crowley waits in the wings along with Tyrone's Joe McMahon but Young deserves his spot on current form.

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18 July 2015; Patrick Kelly, Cork, in action against Killian Young, Kerry. Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Final Replay, Kerry v Cork, Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney, Co. Kerry. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

7. Peter Harte (Tyrone)

One of Tyrone's most important players and a driving force from the half-back line, Harte has been a model of consistency in recent seasons and sees off Kerry's Jonathan Lyne. Rarely off the scoresheet and a beautiful ballplayer, the Errigal Ciaran player is a certainty for most sides.

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Mark Breheny, Sligo, in action against Peter Harte, Tyrone

8. David Moran (Kerry)

After a couple of injury-plagued seasons, Moran is enjoying a clean bill of health and fulfilling his doubtless potential. An excellent fielder and distributor of the ball, the powerful 27-year-old has become one of the marquee midfielders in the country forming a brilliant partnership with Anthony Maher.

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Kerry's David Moran in action

9. Colm Cavanagh (Tyrone)

The younger Cavanagh has long been in the shadow of his illustrious older brother but his recent performances highlight the huge developments in his game in recent years. A key ball winner with a massive engine, the big man from Moy just shades Maher for selection.

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Colm Cavanagh is tackled by Kieran Hughes

10. Mattie Donnelly (Tyrone)

Named on the Irish International Rules squad last year, Donnelly is certainly one of Tyrone's new breed. He provides an excellent link with his inside forward line, be it at midfield or half-forward and is well capable of kicking scores himself.

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Mattie Donnelly, Tyrone, in action against Paddy Codd, Tipperary. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship, Round 3B

11. Bryan Sheehan (Kerry)

If you could choose anyone to convert a free with your life at stake you would probably choose the deadly-accurate Sheehan. His all-round game, work-rate and fitness have improved immeasurably and he is simply an indispensable part of the Kerry attack.

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18 July 2015; Bryan Sheehan, Kerry, is dispossessed by Alan O’Connor, Cork. Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Final Replay, Kerry v Cork, Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney, Co. Kerry. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

12. Donnchadh Walsh (Kerry)

The unsung hero of the Kerry team and maybe one of the most underrated players in the history of the game. Incredible workrate, efficiency on the ball and an innate ability to create turnovers help Walsh see off Tiernan McCann for a spot on the wing.

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Kerry's Donnchadh Walsh is disappointed with the defeat to Derry

13. Colm Cooper (Kerry)

Darren McCurry plays the lone attacker role excellently for Mickey Harte's side but this position isn't even up for debate. The "Gooch" is the most deadly forward of the modern era and the GAA world is lucky to have him back in action.

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2 August 2015; Colm Cooper, Kerry, in action against Mick O'Grady, Kildare. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Quarter-Final, Kerry v Kildare. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

14. Sean Cavanagh (Tyrone)

Kieran Donaghy revolutionised the role of the full-forward over the past ten years and almost single-handedly turned last year's championship on its head but Cavanagh is a class above the rest. His aerial prowess, finishing touch as well as extraordinary leadership qualities rubberstamp his spot.

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Sean Cavanagh celebrates after Tyrone's victory over Monaghan

15. James O'Donoghue (Kerry)

Last year's Footballer of the Year provides the finishing touch to the most potent full-forward line any team could ever have the pleasure to have. A lethal finisher who epitomised team play when sacrificing his own game against

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2 August 2015; James O'Donoghue, Kerry, in action against Ollie Lyons, Kildare. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Quarter-Final, Kerry v Kildare. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

Donegal last year, the Legion man has been in irresistible form the past two seasons.

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