Sunday 26 January 2020

O'Mahony in frame for kerry return

Aidan O'Mahony is poised for a dramatic return to the Kerry football team ahead of Saturday's All-Ireland quarter-final against Down, writes Colm Keys.

O'Mahony has not featured in this year's championship so far after missing the early rounds because of self-imposed exile.

The former All Star withdrew from the squad at the end of the league for personal reasons. He had not made the squad's warm-weather training camp to Portugal before the NFL last-round game against Monaghan.

But Tomas O Se's suspension, allied to injuries to Padraig Reidy and Daniel Bohan, which don't look like clearing up in time, have put O'Mahony (pictured) back in the frame.

Reidy is out for another month with a knee injury and would have been O Se's obvious replacement, with possibly Marc O Se moving out to the half-back line. Bohan, meanwhile, has a hip injury.

Rathmore man O'Mahony's form has slumped in the last two seasons and that still has to be a concern for the Kerry management, who also have problems at midfield.

It required a significant contribution from Micheal Quirke off the bench to rescue Kerry against the John Galvin-inspired Limerick in the Munster final but, with Quirke carrying a calf injury, Anthony Maher's place is likely to be given to David Moran.

Moran has yet to really cut it with Kerry despite his obvious talent but he did make an impression off the bench against Limerick just over three weeks ago. Kerry are also without Paul Galvin, whose two-month suspension ends on Saturday week.

Darran O'Sullivan is again his most likely replacement at right half-forward with Donnacha Walsh on the other wing.

Kerry have of course never beaten Down in the championship in four previous attempts but the weight of history is unlikely to burden this team more than the loss of Galvin and O Se.

Down have their own injury concerns, chiefly Benny Coulter, who is still recovering from a kick he took to the leg that forced him off 10 minutes into the second half of their win over Sligo. Defender Damien Rafferty sustained an arm injury that forced him out in the 55th minute.

Dan Gordon continues to adapt in his new role at full-back and, given his size and aerial ability, James McCartan, the Down manager, couldn't have made a better selection move with Kieran Donaghy now looming large.

Irish Independent

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