Thursday 27 June 2019

'Kerry don't have that' - Tomás Ó Sé on the missing piece in Kingdom's All-Ireland bid

Tomás Ó Sé says that Peter Keane must find a designated man-marker to shore up the defence. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Tomás Ó Sé says that Peter Keane must find a designated man-marker to shore up the defence. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Tomás Ó Sé says that Kerry need to develop a designated man-marker if they want to seriously challenge Dublin for the All-Ireland title in 2019.

Peter Keane's young side won their third straight league game in Tralee last Saturday night, pipping Dublin by a point following a cracking 1-18 to 2-14 encounter.

The home side impressed in a back-and-forth contest, with Peter Crowley popping up to score the winning point in injury time.

However, despite getting the win, Ó Sé thinks that Kerry weren't ruthless enough when in the ascendancy. They led by just two points at the break despite dominating large parts of the opening half, with Dublin goals from Paul Mannion and Con O'Callaghan keeping Jim Gavin's side in touch.

Speaking on The Throw-In,'s GAA podcast in association with Allianz, Ó Sé said that he felt Peter Keane got the balance between defence and attack right last weekend, but that Kerry need to be better at making their advantage count on the scoreboard.

"Kerry are a little bit more defensive, there is no doubt about that," Ó Sé said.

"I saw Kerry against Tyrone and I saw them against Cavan and it actually surprised me a bit on Saturday night, they were a bit more attacking. I thought if they played the exact same way as they did against Tyrone and Cavan, they would be in trouble because it leaned a bit too much to defensive.

"But they cleaned Dublin out in that first half with their running and directness and yet they were only two points up. That is where Kerry's Achilles' heel is. They were dominant everywhere yet Dublin coasted in for two goals with all the bodies back there. Kerry could have managed that game a lot better."

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One thing that Ó Sé thinks Kerry are lacking, even with their improved defensive play thus far in the league, is a tigerish man-marker capable of shackling the opposition's marquee forwards.

The five-time All-Ireland champion says that Keane must find a player in that mould in order to challenge for trophies later in the year.

"Kerry don't have - and it's a skill that has kind of gone out of the game a bit - a designated man-marker," Ó Sé added.

"Jason Foley did it a last year. A Mike McCarthy, a Tom O'Sullivan or a Marc Ó Sé that could go on Con O'Callaghan or Paul Mannion and keep them quiet. Kerry don't have that. If Kerry have any ambition of winning an All-Ireland, they need guys who can blank other fellas out. I don't know if it's the way teams train now but that skill has kind of gone out of the game."

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

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