Sunday 11 December 2016

Tomás Ó Sé: Unfair on Kerry to go into an All-Ireland semi-final without a proper test

Published 30/07/2016 | 17:00

Kerry's James O'Donoghue. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Kerry's James O'Donoghue. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

I still laugh at the notion. The 'Ah this is set up for Kerry' stuff. Because this is actually the time of year I used to hate. The part where you might have the guts of a month's build-up to a Munster final and maybe another month waiting around for the All-Ireland quarter-final.

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In between that there'd be lads away with county championship or back door games with their clubs. So you'd be having half-sessions and you'd be jumpy, not knowing how well you were going in terms of the rest of the country.

The games inside in Fitzgerald stadium were good but they couldn't get near to championship matches.

And I can't imagine how hard it is for the lads this year. Tipperary and Clare are having great years but neither could raise a gallop against Kerry.

The truth is we need Cork. Even if they were going badly, they'd relish the chance to give you a fat lip early in the summer. You'd usually know where you were after that. Kerry haven't had that this year.

Look, I expect Kerry to win tomorrow. They'll pick a handful of Clare's top men and look to pull the life from them.

But my concern is that they'll go into an All-Ireland semi-final not knowing a whole lot about themselves. What sort of shape is 'Gooch' in? Is James O'Donoghue fully right yet? Have the issues in defence been sorted?

The argument is always made about who is better off, the team that comes through the rigours of the Ulster championship or through the more straightforward Munster route?

Well I can tell you, I loved games. As a team we loved playing championship games.

I'd love to see a system where everyone goes into the All-Ireland quarter-final with the same amount of games played.

After that no one could have any complaints.

Irish Independent

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