Monday 16 September 2019

Tomás Ó Sé explains why he was downbeat on Kerry's chances against the top teams after Galway game Newsdesk Newsdesk

There are plenty of reasons for optimism in Kerry football after the opening four rounds of the National League but Tomás Ó Sé believes the defeat to Galway on Sunday has highlighted some big problems.

Kevin Walsh's new defensive system has yielded four wins from four for the Tribesmen and the utilisation of the pace of Eamon Brannigan, Shane Walsh and Damien Comer have many observers touting them as contenders in 2018.

Speaking on's GAA podcast The Throw-In, in association with Allianz, Ó Sé pinpointed Kerry's struggle to break Galway down and deal with their offensive runners as causes for concern.

"(Dublin) seem to be pulling away. I was in Tralee and watched Kerry play and I came away not feeling great," he said.

"I enjoyed watching Galway.

"I didn't have Galway anywhere near contenders last year of the top four. This year, time will tell, but they are a different team to the one we saw last year.

"It didn't look Tyrone out-and-out defensive or Donegal in their heyday. They still had a shape to their play. The key thing to what they did was when they turned over ball they attacked. They sacrificed one of their forwards back into Johnny Heaney's position at wing-back and they worked like dogs. If the ball broke down, their two half-forwards automatically dropped straight back.

"Already they had eight players plus the two midfielders defending for Kerry to break up.

GAA Newsletter

Expert GAA analysis straight to your inbox.

"It's an issue for Kerry. I was disappointed with Kerry.

"I know it's early and I know there have been lots of pluses. The young lads have put their hand up which is brilliant but I'd be worried because we did not cope well with facing a mass defence yesterday and we struggled defensively when they turned on us and came at us at pace. It's a thing that's going on with Kerry over the last number of years. We struggle when teams run at us.

"In the first half, the only guy, possibly along with Peter Crowley, was Paul Murphy who was able to incisively cut through Galway and it's the only way you can do it.

"In the second half we had a gale wind behind us and we put Paul Murphy man-marking in the full-back line whereas he was the guy causing Galway problems in the first half.

"Clifford was brilliant. I thought Geaney was very quiet and you have potentially James O'Donoghue in there. They're no good to you unless Kerry devise a plan to free these guys up and don't play this lateral over and back game.

"It was slow, everybody waiting, no one cutting through, it was the opposite of what Dublin do and it's easy to defend against that.

"There are a lot of things Kerry can improve on but I think in terms of a system of play.. on paper, if you asked me who had the better team I'd say Kerry, but because of the system Galway played, Kerry struggled to enforce what they wanted to do.

"Kerry will have to get a small bit wiser."

Ó Sé wants to see Kerry develop a defensive system to mirror the likes of Galway.

"At the moment I don't think we can handle the top teams by lining out with six players (in defence). I do think that Kerry need to look at adopting a system similar to Galway.

"I don't think it's a horrible style of football. If you look at all the teams, the Dubs, Mayo. They all have a system for defending.

"It's not going ultra defensive because Galway still rattled on scores."

Subscribe to The Throw-In,'s weekly GAA podcast in association with Allianz, for the best in GAA discussion and analysis every week, with some of the biggest names in football and hurling from Joe Brolly, Tomás Ó'Sé and John Mullane.

Subscribe and listen to The Throw-In podcast on iTunes or SoundCloud.

Online Editors

The Throw-In: Selection dilemma for Dublin and All-Ireland ladies football final preview

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Also in Sport