Thursday 17 October 2019

Clifford return boosts Kerry chances


David Clifford of Kerry. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
David Clifford of Kerry. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

A season that started with an impressive flourish for Kerry has received another significant boost with the return of David Clifford and James O'Donoghue to the squad for tonight's game against Mayo in Tralee.

Both are among the subs, adding further power to Peter Keane's impressive set-up as they attempt to reel off a sixth successive Allianz League win.

Clifford (20), who won an All-Star award as well as being chosen as Young Footballer of the Year last year, missed the opening six weeks of the league campaign due to a shoulder issue but is now ready to resume and is likely to be introduced at some stage tonight. O'Donoghue returns too in what will be a major boost to an already successful campaign.

Kingdom supporters feared that the absence of Clifford, in particular, would seriously impair their league ambitions, but it didn't turn out like that as Kerry powered to wins over Tyrone, Cavan, Galway, Dublin and Monaghan.

A point from their remaining two games will be enough to ensure Kerry a place in the final. Even if they lose both, it's likely that will still qualify as they are four points ahead of Dublin, Mayo and Galway. The only change on the team that beat Monaghan in the last round sees Tadhg Morley coming into the defence in place of Jack Sherwood.

Mayo, who are joint second on the table with Dublin and Galway, make three changes from the team that lost to the Tribesmen two weeks ago. Michael Plunkett, Conor Loftus and Kevin McLoughlin come in for Lee Keegan, Colm Boyle and Darren Coen.

Tyrone will tonight be seeking their first win over Dublin in league or championship since 2013 in what is a repeat of last year's All-Ireland final, which Jim Gavin's men won by six points.

Tyrone will field an unchanged team, having picked up five of a possible six points in their last three games after losing the opening two to Kerry and Mayo.

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Today's big hurling action will decide who joins Limerick in the Division 1 league semi-finals.

The All-Ireland champions will play the winners of Tipperary v Dublin, while the second semi-final will feature Galway or Wexford v Clare or Waterford.

Irish Independent

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