Wednesday 22 November 2017

Cooper boost for Kingdom ahead of clash with old rivals

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

Colm 'Gooch' Cooper finally returns to the Kerry jersey tomorrow, just in time to help take on the old enemy as the Kingdom desperately wrestle with Cork for their Division 1 survival.

Cooper is named on the bench, which also includes Bryan Sheehan and Paul Galvin, for the first time this year.

Though listed at No 26 he is expected to see some game-time after an extended break following Dr Crokes' club run.

Veteran wing-back Tomas O Se is also back from suspension to bolster Kerry's defence but manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice has entrusted relative rookie Mark Griffin (St Michael's/ Foilmore) with the onerous job of full-back.

Griffin, one of last year's U-21s, replaced the still-injured Aidan O'Mahony last weekend and impressed against Down's Benny Coulter – as Kerry finally broke their duck – so has now been given his chance to impress further. Eoin Brosnan is rested after three straight games. Kieran O'Leary replaces him and will also captain the side.

Munster's 'old-firm' clashes have been pretty feisty in recent years and this is their first meeting of the season. With so much at stake for Kerry they don't want to lose face in Tralee but manager Fitzmaurice has insisted there will be no rancour between the sides, whose rivalry has sometimes spilt over in recent seasons.

"There are new players on each team for Sunday so while there is serious rivalry between Kerry and Cork, I would imagine there will be fair intensity," he said.

"But I don't think there is any undercurrent of bitterness or badness between the sides."

TEAMs in factfile

Irish Independent

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