Monday 23 September 2019

We can't let Dubs have fast start - White

Gavin White will captain Kerry in Sunday's All-Ireland SFC final. Photo: Sportsfile
Gavin White will captain Kerry in Sunday's All-Ireland SFC final. Photo: Sportsfile

Frank Roche

Two facts you may or may not know about Gavin White: he hasn't played even a solitary minute of Allianz League football, and he has never faced Dublin in a competitive game at any age grade.

"Yeah, one hundred per cent true," the Killarney speedster confirms.

All of which may reinforce the view, in some sceptical minds, that Peter Keane's young guns will lack the big-game experience when it comes to the All-Ireland final crunch.

After all, White happens to be the Kerry captain hoping to prise Sam Maguire from Stephen Cluxton's vice-grip.

Even leaving aside the quirk that Kerry is one of the few counties whose captain is nominated by county champions, that only partially explains why the Dr Crokes man, now 22 and in his fourth season in the Kerry set-up, has never played any league football.

He was introduced by Eamonn Fitzmaurice in the summer of 2016 - he had missed the league as he was sitting his Leaving Cert.

In 2017, Dr Crokes won the All-Ireland club title with White; hence, no league involvement.

Injury saw him miss last year's spring campaign. And this year? With the Killarney club blazing another trail back to St Patrick's Day - only to crash and burn - it meant White was again looking on as Peter Keane settled into the hot seat.

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Then an injury suffered on club duty in April left White playing more catch-up, although he returned off the bench for Kerry's Munster SFC opener. And while named at No 10, he had to settle for a half-time introduction in the All-Ireland semi-final.

"Obviously we got off to a bit of a slow start (against Tyrone) and you can't afford to give teams that sort of start," White accepts. "If we give Dublin that kind of start in the All-Ireland final, it's going to be very hard to come back."

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