Saturday 18 November 2017

Stage set for Cooper to deliver his finest performance

Gooch's place in football folklore will be sealed today, says Sunday Independent Editor Aengus Fanning

TWO titans of Kerry football history last week gave their vote of confidence to the county. No great surprise there, I can hear you say.

Mick O'Dwyer, who contested a record 22 All-Ireland finals as a player and a manager, reckons that the Kerry forward line is considerably stronger than that of Dublin.

"Kieran Donaghy is due a really big game, and overall I believe the Kerry forward sextet will outscore their Dublin counterparts," he said.

O'Dwyer believes that Kerry are right not to have Paul Galvin on the field from the start today.

"They have been introducing him in the second half all along and it has worked," he said. "You rarely change a winning team."

Another great, Sean Murphy, who played in the epoch-making 1955 Kerry victory over an all-star Dublin team, said that Dublin had shown "intense hunger" this season, but Kerry had a powerful will to win, "a slightly different thing".

He feared for Dublin, that they might have peaked too soon this year because of the intensity of their training and the number of competitions their players have to take part in.

"This can lead to a certain staleness, which I don't think will apply to Kerry," said Murphy, whose performance in the 1959 All-Ireland final against Galway is regarded by many as the greatest individual display ever seen on the great day.

"Against Donegal, Dublin showed that they possessed endurance and attritional qualities in abundance, but they seemed to find difficulty once they reached the 30-yard area in pushing home their scores."

He felt the main weakness in the Dublin side could be that of inconsistency. "Against Tyrone, they looked unbeatable, picking scores off from all angles, but it was a totally different picture against Donegal," said Murphy.

As well, he felt Kerry would have the edge in the "subtleties and nuances" of the game and this could be very telling if the conditions were good.

"Contrary to what most people think -- and there is no doubt that Gooch is a genius and Bernard Brogan is a very fine player -- I believe the result will come down to the better of the two teams through the 15 positions on the field and will not rely on individual greatness."

My own forecast? I believe that this match will represent the full flower of Colm Cooper's career and will go into history as the apotheosis of his genius. Kerry 2-11 (Gooch 1-6), Dublin 1-12.

Sunday Indo Sport

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