Sunday 24 September 2017

Legend Sheehy demands Kerry restore Donaghy to full-forward position

Kieran Donaghy
Kieran Donaghy
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

POST Kieran Donaghy at full-forward and leave him there -- that's the advice to Jack O'Connor from a Kerry legend as the Kingdom prepare for the crucial All-Ireland qualifier test against Tyrone in Killarney on Saturday.

Mikey Sheehy wants to see his fellow Austin Stacks clubman restored to the position where he first made his name in 2006, when he emerged as a key figure in Kerry's advance to the All-Ireland title after losing the Munster final.

"Kieran has been pushed from pillar to post and it's not working. I think he should be put inside at full-forward and left there. There's no need to obsess with playing high ball into him either.

"He's well able to win possession high or low if the delivery is right. He has looked like a fella who's not all that happy with his game -- he hasn't been playing with the confidence of old, but all he needs is one big game to change that," said Sheehy.

Donaghy has shown erratic form recently, starting with a wayward pass which led to a crucial Mayo goal late in the league semi-final in April. He was left off the team for the opening Munster championship game against Tipperary in late May, allegedly for disciplinary reasons, but played well as a substitute in the second half.

An indifferent performance saw him replaced late on against Cork in the Munster semi-final and he finished last Sunday's qualifier tie against Westmeath on the bench too.

He had been handed the No 15 jersey with Colm Cooper at No 14, but now Sheehy wants Donaghy returned to the role which earned him All Star awards at full-forward in 2006 and '08.

"Kieran is mentally very strong. What he needs now is to go back in at full-forward, get a decent supply, hopefully early on, and take it from there. He's a confidence player and once he gets it back he'll be fine. His best chance of doing that is at full-forward," said Sheehy.

Like most Kerry supporters, Sheehy believes that there's a backlash still to come from the Kerry squad, but admits that there's no way of knowing until the real pressure comes on against Tyrone.

"I just hope we're not all in denial about what's happening. Still, the Kerry supporter in me would believe there's another big kick in the squad -- there will need to be because the level of performance against Tipperary, Cork and Westmeath wouldn't be anywhere near high enough to beat Tyrone."

The Kerry team will be announced tonight.

Irish Independent

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