Saturday 24 March 2018

Ultra-cautious management, one player under 25 and defensive half forwards - Pat Spillane airs his Kerry concerns

Kerry play Mayo in the All-Ireland semi-final next Sunday.
Kerry play Mayo in the All-Ireland semi-final next Sunday. Newsdesk Newsdesk

Mayo's rampant destruction of Roscommon in the All-Ireland quarter-final replay fired a warning shot to Kerry and their supporters - and Pat Spillane has identified a few areas of worry for the Kingdom ahead of next Sunday's semi-final clash.

Kerry and Mayo clashed in two titanic tussles at the penultimate stage in 2014, with Eamonn Fitzmaurice's side emerging victorious after extra time in a replay en route to an All-Ireland title.

Expectations are high that fans will be treated to a similarly rip-roaring clash this time around, and although Kerry are bookies favourites, Spillane is still apprehensive about a few aspects of the team.

Writing in his Sunday World column, Spillane identifies the 'ultra-cautious' approach of Fitzmaurice and his management team as one of his chief concerns, as well as the Kerry defence's vulnerability to direct running attacks.

"The ultra-cautious approach of the team management, both in terms of tactics and personnel, worries me," Spillane said.

"They are likely to start only one player under 25 against Mayo, the half-forward line is picked more for their defensive qualities than their scoring ability, there are doubts over the pace of midfielders David Moran and Anthony Maher and their goal-scoring record is poor - they are averaging one per game.

"However, their big worry is defence - they coughed up four goal-scoring chances against both Galway and Cork. Kerry fans will remember how full back Mark Griffin was roasted by Andy Moran in the league and they are suspect when run at - which is Mayo's forte."

Spillane also ranks the four remaining teams in the All-Ireland football championship, opting for a top four of Dublin, Kerry, Tyrone and Mayo.


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