There were some stand-out performances in green and gold on Sunday, more players, however, have room to improve
After a disappointingly uncompetitive Munster championship and a four-week break between games, it was always likely that Kerry were going to have a few cobwebs to shake off in Croke Park on Sunday afternoon.
That was reflected in the performances of the Kingdom’s players. As ever some players have improvements to make, but there were three or four stand-out performers in green and gold on Jones’ Road…
That long ball in, in the second half from a Diarmuid O'Connor effort for a point, which the Rathmore man looked uncomfortable in dealing with will give Kerry fans pause for thought. Certainly he needs to be more decisive in such situations. His kick-outs again were good (the Kingdom had an 80% retention rate).
A very decent performance by the South Kerry man. Kicked a fine point and got up the pitch on occasion. Not that he didn’t perform his defensive duties. Seemed to start the game on Kevin McLoughlin who kicked a point but wasn’t a dominant figure.
The Ballydonoghue man started a little hesitantly we’d argue – fouling Aidan O’Shea for the first score of the game – but grew more and more into the game as it progressed and by the end looked a commanding figure (even if James Carr turned him for a second half point). Another encouraging display.
If he’s not had the type of season to date which we know he’s capable of, on Sunday he reminded us just what he’s all about. Held Cillian O’Connor to just a single score from play and popped up with his typical aplomb to fire three points from play. Possibly could have taken a goal from his chance on 55 minutes, but maybe that’s nit-picking.
Brian Ó Beaglaoich
Looked to be tracking Conor Loftus and we didn’t think he was under too much duress in that contest. Was typically busy, but maybe not as prominent as he has been at times so far in this campaign. Assisted Seán O’Shea for a first half point.
For us, the Templenoe man was the Kingdom’s man of the match. His presence as on the half-back line is so reassuring. Again he seemed to spend most of the game in the plus 1 role and thrived in it. Cut out a lot of danger, works well with Foley in dangerous situations. Great game awareness.
The Dr Crokes man was typically dangerous on the break and his surging runs caused Mayo trouble, including an early point. Defensively he was effective too and kept Diarmuid O’Connor (his principal marker) quite quiet.
The feel good story of the weekend? Possibly. Whatever about that he was very good and most encouragingly didn’t fade as many might have feared beforehand considering the miles on the clock. Kicked two fine points from play. That said so too did his man, Jordan Flynn. Must now be in contention for a start against Dublin.
In a sort of fits and starts season for the Na Gaeil man, this performance was more miss than hit. Looked to be picking up Matthew Ruane and the Mayo man shaded it. More so though O'Connor, didn’t play with the sort of authority you’d hope to see. Must improve.
As a first day back after injury it probably wasn’t the worst performance. Still it wasn’t quite the all-action, all-energy type of Moynihan we saw during the National League. Had a point chalked off by hawkeye, but was fairly peripheral to be honest.
The Kenmare Shamrocks man kicked three points, two of them from play, and as ever oozed class on occasion. Still one was left with the impression that this wasn’t O’Shea in top gear, given the gap between games that’s probably understandable.
He played his part in the decisive moment of the game in playing a sweet one-two with David Clifford for the latter’s goal. As ever was energetic, but one would have hoped for a bit more end product. Was one of three starting forwards not to score.
One of the Fossa man’s quietest games in a while. He was picked up by Lee Keegan and the former Footballer of the Year can be satisfied by his afternoon’s work. Seemed to come into the game a bit more later on, but has more to give.
For a man struggling with an ankle injury picked up in winning his first minute mark, still had a huge influence on the game. Was well marked at times by Oisín Mullin, nevertheless DC scored a typically outrageous goal and fired three points. The key man. His fitness is key to whatever chances the Kingdom have of overcoming the Dubs in a fortnight’s time.
Geaney continued on from where he left off against Limerick in the Munster final. He really was very good and gave Enda Hession – who also had a spell on Clifford – a tough enough afternoon of it. His return of four points (one a mark) says it all. Still when presented with a glorious chance for a goal as he was on 11 minutes, he at least needs to hit the target. To be fair, if anyone knows that it’s him.
Killian Spillane wasted little time getting up to speed and surely must be considered for a starting berth next time out. Kicked a fine point shortly after his introduction. Paul Murphy was quietly effective picking up some loose ball to settle the Kingdom down. Micheál Burns was a little less prominent, while Joe O’Connor looked lively and assertive. Tony Brosnan and Gavin Crowley also featured late on (Crowley as a temporary replacement for Jason Foley).