Paul Curran: Kerry must attack or they will be meat and drink to Dublin in August
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KERRY, as expected picked up another provincial title in Killarney yesterday, but they failed to impress in a game that lacked that championship bite that you would expect at this stage of the competition.
One feels that if the opposing team had have been wearing a red jersey the performance levels might have been a bit better but Kerry managed to get the job done and are now another game closer to meeting Dublin in an All-Ireland semi-final in August.
There are still so many questions hanging over this current Kerry team and perhaps the biggest one of all is whether or not they have the quality to beat the Dubs if and when the two teams meet.
Yesterday they did enough to win the game but at times they looked so ordinary.
They seem to be struggling a little bit with their identity and seem confused with the system they are being asked to play in.
Kerry now are as defensive as any of the Ulster teams and that mustn’t sit too well with all the great attacking players of the past.
Players like Mikey Sheehy, Pat Spillane, Ger Power, Eoin Liston and Maurice Fitzgerald among others must hate the modern game.
But Kerry will do what Kerry need to do to get back to the top.
If it means 15 men behind the ball at times then that is exactly what they will do but I honestly think that they have become too obsessed with that type of game.
I believe that they are very dangerous in an attacking sense with some excellent forwards and I think that they need to be brave and come out and play with a freedom of expression. If they do that I think they have a chance this year but a mainly defensive game-plan will be meat and drink to a team like Dublin who will attack relentlessly until they find your breaking point.
Maybe Eamonn Fitzmaurice didn’t show his full hand yesterday but he will be a little disappointed with some aspects of his team’s performance.
On far too many occasions the Tipperary players were able to run through his massed defence and were able to get in for a couple of goals.
They could have created another two or three goal chances but ran up cul de sacs and took the wrong options.
A better team would have been able to keep the scoreboard ticking and would have made it a lot harder for the Kingdom. In the end there was a comfortable margin between the teams and Kerry picked up their 78th provincial crown.
It is the absolute minimum that they would have expected from this season but in order to win the big one they will need improvement across the board.
I am not sure they have the necessary quality to win this year’s All-Ireland final but they are Kerry and they are a very proud county as we know.
I wouldn’t quite write them out of the picture but they probably need to find a level that we haven’t seen from them in a couple of years.
There were other games over the weekend with more teams ending their interest in this year’s championship.
One has to feel for the players who have committed everything to their county and who now must watch on until they pull on the county jersey again in six to seven months’ time.
That’s just ridiculous and I’ll continue to highlight how unfair our number one competition is.
Tipperary are not in the same league as Kerry and until we come up with a proper championship we will continue to get one-sided games with no atmosphere.
At club level you never see a junior team in a senior championship. It wouldn’t be tolerated at committee level or indeed the teams themselves wouldn’t agree to play in a completion that they are not good enough to compete in.
Why not adopt the same principle at inter-county level and simply arrange the championship along the same lines as the national league?
Teams work their way up or down and that way they would develop accordingly.
The present championship format is elitist and will continue to be stacked in favour of the top teams in the country.