Monday 23 September 2019

O'Brien is key to cutting out influence of 'incredible' McCaffrey - Ó Sé

Ó Sé: Kerry will keep the faith. Photo: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Ó Sé: Kerry will keep the faith. Photo: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Prior to the drawn All-Ireland football final, Marc Ó Sé felt Kerry would need three goals to become champions.

They scored one and survived. But the five-time All-Ireland winner still holds that Kerry will have to match - or even better - that initial projection now.

"Kerry need three goals to win on Saturday," he predicted, adding that he felt added belief had grown in the Kerry camp after creating so many chances.

He also envisages improvement from David Clifford. "He missed one with the left straight away, one with the right, and then one in the second half into the goalie's hands. He kicked two great scores, one under Hill 16 where (Mick) Fitzsimons did everything right. He turned left, he turned right, he turned left again, over the bar.

"He won two frees in the first half, his man (Jonny Cooper) got a red card, he kicked two points from play, he brought other players into the game, he had a few assists and you still think he only had a fair game which, by his standards, he did.

Ó Sé doesn't envisage many changes in Kerry personnel, pointing to potential elevation for Killian Spillane after kicking 1-1 the last day. He also points out that captain Gavin White wasn't "at his best" in the drawn affair which triggers another hot topic - the Kerry captaincy, still the right of the county champions.

For years it has thrown up candidates that might not necessarily have enjoyed the added pressure, or thrived in it.

"It depends on the character of the man. It's a huge debate down in Kerry for years. Kilcummin won the county championship in 2002 and Mike McCarthy - one of the best players I played with in the Kerry full-back line - was the captain in 2003. But he never opened his mouth in the dressing room. He was just a quiet man, he did his talking on the field. It was the likes of Darragh (Ó Sé) and Seamus Moynihan who were doing all the talking.

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"White was an All-Star nomination last year. But he is out of his comfort zone. He is playing wing forward, did very well there against Mayo, but he is a defender. I think we are possibly being a bit unfair on him."

Dublin's Jack McCaffrey, on the other hand, was outstanding the last day, says Ó Sé.

"He is an incredible footballer. Not alone does he have the pace, he has the brain, he knows what to do with it, he is looking up. We've seen him kick great goals, and he is just a fantastic player. You look at finals, and I'd be big into my history of looking back at old videos. Seán Murphy played in the 1959 All-Ireland final, and he was on the 'Team of the Century.' They call it the 'Seán Murphy final'.

"No different to the 1997 final for Maurice Fitz. We look at the 2019 final and it will have to go down as 'the Jack McCaffrey final'. Maybe we need to put a forward on him, put him on the back foot, put him into an area he doesn't want to play. Stephen O'Brien, no better man.

"He'd be the fella I'd put on him anyway but then again it's Dublin who could dictate that. They will pick up whoever they want to pick up. I think it will have a huge bearing on the game."

Irish Independent

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