Kerry should be able to use home comforts to keep winning run going against Donegal

Danielle O’Leary will miss Saturday’s game after injuring her hamstring playing camogie

Dual star Danielle O’Leary is expected to miss a couple of weeks of action after injuring her hamstring playing camogie

Dan KearneyKerryman


Kerry v Donegal

Austin Stack Park, Tralee

Saturday, February 4 at 12 noon

Next up for Kerry is the visit of a Donegal side with zero points to Austin Stack Park next Saturday, and Kerry will look at the game as a huge opportunity to keep their perfect winning record intact. The Ulster side has lost both their games against Galway, by 0-11 to 0-6, and Meath on a 1-7 to 0-5 score line, so really they aren’t in great shape at this moment in time, and a scoring return of eleven points in two games is pretty poor.

They did make the All-Ireland semi-final against Meath last July, but they only retained seven players from that team for their game against the same opposition last Saturday. Kerry joint-manager Declan Quill admitted that he’s not surprised with how badly they are going, but felt that they’ll be a different outfit going forward.

“Donegal are trying to get girls back as well I suppose after giving them a break. They had a very long league campaign last year and the All Ireland semi final as well, so he’s (Donegal manager Maxi Curran) trying to give some of the girls rest. I think that they are playing a defensive enough structure at the moment just trying to blend new girls into the team. I’d imagine they’ll have an extra few girls back next weekend for their trip to Tralee,” Quill said.

Incidentally the TG4 Player of the Year Niamh McLaughlin came off the bench against Meath and will probably start the game against Kerry.

“We’re looking forward to it especially as it’s the first Division One game in Tralee for a few years (the last time Kerry played Division One football in Tralee was when Westmeath defeated them by 1-12 to 1-6 in a relegation play off in April 2018), so hopefully we can get a nice crowd out”.

So how are Kerry fixed on the injury front? The hero of the Waterford game, dual star Danielle O’Leary, injured her hamstring playing camogie and could miss a bit of action, but overall the news in the squad is positive, as Quill explained.

“Danielle will be out I’d say for probably another couple of weeks with her hamstring and she certainly won’t be available for the weekend. We’ll know fully later in the week, but I don’t think so. Ciara Butler (goalkeeper) was part of the panel (in Mayo) so she’ll be available for selection next weekend.”

After a couple of long journeys to Waterford and Mayo, Quill is looking forward to having a home tie. A win would see Kerry on a very healthy nine points and the joint manager is hoping that supporters come out in their droves for his team.

“The home venue helps us big time,” he said. “It’s brilliant to be in Austin Stack Park and hopefully we’ll get a bit of a crowd out for the girls.”