Thursday 14 December 2017

Sheehan can kick on for Kerry in his best position

Jack O'Connor may have found the right man for a midfield berth, says Páidí ó Sé

Paidi O Se

Kerry have named what I consider to be the strongest team available to them at the moment for today's game against Tipperary and I think that it's a team that will give any county a good game.

I'm delighted to see Bryan Sheehan appearing in the centre of the field. I've been advocating a midfield position for him for a long time. He has many critics in his own county but I believe he has a lot going for him.

His best position is where he is starting today. He has great height and exceptional place-kicking skills. I saw him kick frees lately in my own home field and the display he gave would do justice to Maurice Fitzgerald and that's a fair tribute to give.

I think he will prove to be invaluable to this Kerry team, as he has shots in his bag that most place-kickers don't have. However, he needs to realise that while that's a great asset to have, it's quite similar to being the captain of a team. It's an added responsibility for match days but it shouldn't hamper your overall play.

In 1985, when I was captain in the All-Ireland final, I was determined that I would play my part for the team. Normally captains in All-Ireland finals don't have a great record but I wanted to break that mould.

Sheehan just needs to push the responsibility of free-taking aside and up the ante in his general play. If he works hard tackling off the ball and gets back to defend then he will develop into a top midfielder.

Overall, the Kerry players are obviously a bit worse for wear; they are a year older, but to be honest I'm not too worried. I think experience and the reintroduction of a few players will carry us through for another year. I think that if Kerry are to advance then players like Anthony Maher and Sheehan need to meet the extra percentage that is required and I think they will come good today.

But, in saying that, the likes of Colm Cooper and Kieran Donaghy have plenty of football left in them yet. They are two of the best forwards in the country and together they are lethal. And the full-backline of Killian Young, Marc ó Sé and Tom O'Sullivan would take on any opposition.

I was at last Wednesday's minor game against Tipperary and I felt that Kerry left it after them. I know they had a lot of preparation done so I was surprised at the result.

This is the first Kerry team in my memory to be defeated in Thurles -- our inter-county teams and club teams have a great record there.

One of the main reasons Kerry have been so successful in Thurles is because Kerry footballers love the open spaces, it gives them an opportunity to express themselves. If you can't play football in Thurles, you can't play anywhere.

I have to mention Limerick man John Galvin. I felt very sorry for him when I heard the news of his injury. He is a big, big player who would hold his own in any company and a player we would love to have had in Kerry. It's just unfortunate and I hope he makes a speedy recovery.

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