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Four unsung heroes who could tilt the Kerry hurling final

The star names stand out, but usually in a county final it’s the unsung heroes who come to the fore

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Ballyduff number 1 PJ O'Gorman has been an unsung hero for the club for a number of years now Photo by Domnick Walsh / Eye Focus

Ballyduff number 1 PJ O'Gorman has been an unsung hero for the club for a number of years now Photo by Domnick Walsh / Eye Focus

Ballyduff number 1 PJ O'Gorman has been an unsung hero for the club for a number of years now Photo by Domnick Walsh / Eye Focus

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There are star names on both these sides.

Legendary figures like John Mike Dooley – albeit that he's not playing in a different role to the one that made him famous – for Causeway and the Boyle brothers, Mikey and Pádraig, for Ballyduff.

There are those star players like Keith Carmody and Gavin Dooley for Causeway, Paud Costelloe and Daniel O’Carroll for Ballyduff.

There are those up-and-coming stars of the future who look set to make the present their own like Kevin Goulding and Kieran O’Carroll.

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County finals, though, are often won by those we least expect. Go back a couple of weeks ago to the All Ireland senior football final and who would have had Graham O’Sullivan pencilled in as the Kingdom’s likely man-of-the-match?

That’s what sport does, that’s what finals do. They throw up those unexpected men of the hour. Without the power of prescience we can’t say who that will be on Sunday, but there are a handful of unsung heroes on both sides who could grab hold of this final and make it their own.

Here we choose two unsung heroes from Ballyduff and two from Causeway. Guys who could well prove the difference come the final whistle this weekend.

PJ O’Gorman (Ballyduff)

One rarely tends to think of the Ballyduff number 1, which in a roundabout sort of a way is a real tribute to the man between the sticks. He’s dependable, reliable and now at this stage of his career hugely experienced. 

Having been a mainstay of the side going back to when they were challenging for Munster titles, O’Gorman hasn’t lost a step. Seems to keep a good grip on his defence, keeping them on their toes, he can save well and his puck-outs are more than adequate. 

Goalkeepers are rarely man of the match and something tells us O’Gorman wouldn't want to be anyway, as it usually means a very busy day at the office!

Muiris Delaney (Causeway)

The Causeway full-back was captain of his club when they made their famous breakthrough after twenty-one years in 2019 and has always struck us as being a very, very good player indeed.

Perhaps, that touch off county standard, but the very best club players tend to be those who fall into that category. Being able to fully commit and fully focus on their club careers allows them to flourish. That’s certainly the case for Delaney.

This year more so even than in 2020 and 2021, he seems to have recaptured that form from his captaincy season.

Jack O’Sullivan (Ballyduff)

O’Sullivan, it’s fair to say, might possibly be slightly more highly regarded as a footballer than a hurler, but that’s not to say he can't be effective in the small ball code. He did after all pick up a Kerry Hurling All Star award in 2017.

He’s got a real physical presence about him, with pace and power to match. He can be a real asset for Ballyduff in and around the half-forward line / midfield sector. He was a late addition to the starting fifteen for the semi-final with Crotta O’Neills, and is likely to hold his place.

O’Sullivan didn’t score against Crotta last time out, but there could easily be a big game in him this weekend.

Tommy Barrett (Causeway)

There’s a lot of big names and big personalities on that Causeway half-back line with Jason Diggins a dominant figure and Tommy Casey a driving figure alongside him. So much so that sometimes we tend to overlook a little the third figure of that triumvirate, Tommy Barrett.

The wing-back is very bit as vital a figure as the other two on what must be the best half-back line in the championship. A really tenacious hurler, he picked up a Kerry Hurling All Star last season at corner-back.

With all of his experience and all of his quality he could easily rise to the fore in this final. He’s been man of the match in finals before, why not this one?


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