Monday 17 December 2018

Kerry have a team and a panel to match Dubs

Influx of pacy young talent will deliver All-Irelands soon, says Colm O'Rourke

Kerry's side line-up ahead of the final. Photo: Sportsfile
Kerry's side line-up ahead of the final. Photo: Sportsfile

If we didn't know it already, Kerry are contenders. With the culling of last year's team to give youth its fling, Kerry now have pace, aggression and scoring power.

The foot-passing in the first half was exceptional by Kerry and it set up any number of scoring chances, and nine points in a row. It could have been worse for Cork.

Kerry squeezed right up on Cork's kick-outs and worked ferociously to get turnovers. Cork allowed short kick-outs. When will managers realise you cannot give a good team the ball and not be damaged by it? When Cork got the ball back it was often to take a kick-out at their own end after Kerry had worked the ball up for a shot on goal. When Cork did win the ball in defence they had too many stationary players who were either unable or unwilling to make support runs. As a result Kerry easily isolated the man in possession and turned over the ball. When Kerry had the ball they moved at pace with defenders joining the attack at speed.

Kerry did not need any help from the referee in the first half but got it anyway. Jack Barry charged and got a free in while Ruairi Dean, who was Cork's best player early on, was wrongly black-carded. It was double loss for Cork as Luke Connolly had kicked a point which was disallowed.

When a messy melees took place in the second half the referee took an age to do something, anything. In the end it was two yellow cards. The authorities need to sort these ugly mauls - a few red cards might make players think about joining in. All this, pulling, dragging and mouthing is a blight on the game. Worse still, nobody ever hits anyone!

There was bit of swagger about Kerry and they are going to be winning All-Irelands again soon. But this was a tame Cork effort. Ian Maguire was an admirable captain who kept driving his team on but all the class and pace was on the one side. Cork did not even look fit and were out on their feet from early in the second half.

The two multi-decorated Kerry minors, Sean O'Shea and David Clifford, acquitted themselves well even if Clifford needs to learn when to shoot and when to pass - he did a bit much of the former.

The most impressive new player was Gavin White, who has pace and is unselfish. Croke Park will suit him very well. Kerry now have a team and a panel to match Dublin.

The last quarter resembled a kickaround in a local park, Kerry toying with the opposition and Cork players looking like they wanted to get out of their beautiful new stadium as quickly as possible. This was not a game, just a low key training session for Kerry.

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