Friday 30 September 2016

Rejuvenated Donaghy reflects Kerry's desire to make amends for 2015

Published 11/04/2016 | 02:30

Kerry's Kieran Donaghy. Photo: Sportsfile
Kerry's Kieran Donaghy. Photo: Sportsfile

The most worrying aspect of Roscommon's recent League campaign was that the further the competition progressed, the worse they began to play.

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Yesterday's trimming at the hands of a rampant Kerry team was the starkest example of this trend.

Overall, though, there was surely enough over the eight league games for the Roscommon mentors to learn from and set about rectifying the deficiencies exposed in recent weeks.

It would be a disaster for the county if all the talent at their disposal did not develop into a successful team.

I have always questioned the notion that success in U-21 competitions is in itself to key to success at senior level because the type of football played at the grades is totally different.

Roscommon and Cavan have won a bagful of provincial U-21 titles in the past five years, but they have to learn about the difference in standard at senior level and Cavan took a major step in that direction last week.

Roscommon can learn from their defeats by Mayo, Dublin and Kerry - the three best teams in Ireland - but that depends on the willingness of the players to absorb the hard lessons.

Some of their players were very naive against Kerry and paid a high price.

Kerry are serious about undoing the damage to their reputation inflicted by their anaemic display in last year's All-Ireland final and a completely different approach been taken this year.

When you see 14 Kerry players all inside their own 45 metre line, as we witnessed in the 51st minute, we know that Kerry are becoming purely practical about wining this year.

For now at least, they are willing to park their status as the aristocrats of Gaelic football.

This year Kerry will be strictly business.

They set up massed attacks yesterday as well as massed defences and the Roscommon backs were left clutching at straws as the ball was moved into attack with lightning speed by foot and hand.

The results were devastating as their scoring of three goals from close range clearly proved.

Many Kerry people will be asking what the management are feeding Kieran Donaghy these days because there he was for the umpteenth game this year, running around like a young fellow from one goalmouth to the other but all the time being available at midfield where he was supposed to be playing.

He was man-of-the-match by a mile yesterday, but the response from his colleagues especially in the forward line was magnificent.

And having the opportunity to see again the sheer class of Colm Cooper in action is enough to make a visit to a Kerry game worthwhile these days.

His confrontation with the Dublin defence after the controversy of last year's All Ireland final last year should in itself be an attendance-booster.

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