Friday 18 October 2019

O'Donoghue ready to go again for Mayo clash

Kerry's James O’Donoghue. Photo: Sportsfile
Kerry's James O’Donoghue. Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Kerry manager Peter Keane insists that James O'Donoghue will be available for selection when Mayo come to town on Sunday.

The Kingdom face James Horan's side in what is expected to be a packed Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney this weekend and Keane revealed that the 2014 Footballer of the Year is "going well" after being forced to sit out the Munster final win over Cork after limping out of the semi-final against Clare.

Keane also allayed fears over the fitness of midfielder Jack Barry and defender Killian Young.

"At the moment things are pretty okay," he said at a press briefing last night. "We have a few days to go yet before Sunday and a couple more outings where something might go wrong to change that scenario.

"But, touch wood, right now we are injury free. James O'Donoghue is back training and going well.

"We are confident enough that Jack Barry is in good shape. Killian Young is back training again and while he hasn't much match practice done, he is available."

Mayo have beaten Kerry twice this year, in one of the earlier rounds of the league and the league final itself.

"I suppose if you look at the night in Tralee, physicality won out as conditions were not great and that did not help anyone, I suppose. And it certainly did not help a lighter and inexperienced team like Kerry, if that is the answer you are looking for."

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Kerry haven't lost at home in the Championship since 1995 and Keane is expecting a huge crowd.

"It's a Championship game and it's a big game judging by what I saw in the shop all day with supporters waiting for tickets to come online. They have been going away and coming back until the tickets went on sale at 4.30pm so there is huge demand. We expect a huge crowd.

"We are hoping there will be a huge Kerry support there as Mayo will travel in big numbers, so it's a big game in its own right. It's a big game in Killarney and it's the only show in town and we do not want to lose any game."

The Kerry boss is unsure whether it is more advantageous to Mayo having come through the qualifiers, or whether his men have the edge by coming in fresh after a three-week break.

"I don't think there is a straightforward answer to it because if you were going week after week, would you be able to survive that," said Keane.

"I am not sure Kerry would have the bodies to do it at this stage of the development of a squad that is so young.

"I don't really have an answer or a preference. I would hope that we are not going in cold or undercooked on Sunday, but we are just looking forward to playing Mayo in Killarney."

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