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Young expects Rebel backlash

KERRY haven't seen the last of Cork. That's the firm belief of Killian Young, who fears their perennial Leeside rivals could re-emerge a stronger team for their voyage of discovery through the back door.

However, the red menace is off the agenda in Killarney this Sunday as the All-Ireland holders go chasing the relatively novel prize of a first Munster SFC title in three seasons. All this against Limerick rivals who haven't conquered their province in -- wait for it -- 114 years.

According to Young, his colleagues are fully forewarned against the possibility of losing focus for the Limerick game, now that the allegedly hard part -- seeing off Cork over two dramatic games -- has been achieved.

"It is a very dangerous fixture and you have to give credit to Limerick for what they did to Cork last year (in the Munster final)," Young told the Evening Herald.

"They should have won it only for that ball into (Daniel) Goulding, so you don't want to be complacent against Limerick.


"You want to treat it like any other game. We want to treat it just as important as the Cork game.

"You would be more nervous going into it because anything could happen, and it is whoever is hungrier on the day and whoever works harder."

The question is whether Limerick can repeat the above performance and then go one step further with the result.

By comparison to Kerry, they've been lying in the long grass -- they won the NFL Division Four crown by edging out Waterford in late April; then overcame the same opponents far more easily in their sole championship outing to date.

Limerick's summer goal, suffice to say, is focused entirely on that elusive Munster crown and Young admitted: "It is a better way to approach games, to focus on your next opponent and on your next game. That is the way we will be going about it as well.

"You don't want to be overlooking hurdles at all because that is where you do get caught out."

Sunday will be made more difficult by the latest suspension woes of Paul Galvin. "In the dressing-room as well he is a fantastic leader, and you can see on the pitch what difference he can make to a team and the way he goes in for breaking ball," the Kerry vice-captain outlined.

"You can see that Paul made an absolutely massive difference to the team (when introduced against Cork). He drove us forward, he won everything in the middle of the field -- it was like as if the ball was glued to him," he added.

"Paul is a fantastic player and he has just been caught in a few bad things but that is life. It's just sport, really."

Presuming Kerry negotiate their Limerick banana skin on Sunday, they will still be missing Galvin for the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

The 2009 Footballer of the Year would be available for the semi-finals -- and it's usually around that time, or even one round later, that Kerry and Cork end up renewing southern hostilities in the capital.


Asked if he expects to face Cork later in the season, Young conceded: "I think so, I think so, that's never the end of Cork anyway!

"I think if they do come through the qualifiers they'll be a stronger team," added the Renard clubman.

"Like last year, they probably thought they got rid of us. It's hard to predict, even though this year I think the qualifiers is a much harder route to get through than it was last year.

"Last year Kerry maybe got a few easy draws maybe ... but if they (Cork) do get through they'll be a stronger team for it."

For all that, Young believes Kerry can derive massive confidence on two levels from their draw and replay with the Rebels.

Firstly, the games showed the Kerry panel in a healthier light than was expected following the loss of such luminaries as Darragh ó Sé, Diarmuid Murphy, Tadhg Kennelly and Tommy Walsh. Galvin aside, young Barry John Keane led the bench assault.

"The last day it was down to the fellas that came off the bench," Young reflected.

"It shows just how big our panel was; it was kind of hard to explain it before.

"It just showed how intense training was and how demanding training was with the type of players we had in there."

Secondly, toppling Cork was a significant outcome in bolstering Kerry confidence as they seek to defend Sam Maguire.

"It's so long since Kerry won a replay in Cork," Young pointed out. "It was a kind of daunting task for Kerry to do it this year, especially with Cork being [touted] to win the All-Ireland.

"We were absolutely thrilled with the result. At the start it looked as though the game was getting away from us. To show the character to get back into it the way we did, and to win it the way we did, was fantastic. We were over the moon."

Now for the return to terra firma -- with a soft landing, Young hopes, and not a Limerick-inflicted bump.