Game day – keep moving on up

We’re back in National League action this evening, in what’s an eagerly anticipated clash between the top two teams in Division One this year. It’s Kerry we’re up against at Austin Stack Park in Tralee (throw-in 7.30pm), the match is live on RTÉ2 and Kildare’s Brendan Cawley is the ref.

It would be tempting to ascribe – as many have done – too much importance to tonight’s meeting. While it’s a useful sense-check for both teams to assess how they’re moving, no definitive conclusions can or should be drawn from how this game pans out.

This is, after all, just a League clash between two teams who have already done enough to retain their Division One status and whose ambitions in this competition will be – as they must – secondary to their preparations for the Championship. While the League throws up plenty of good contests between evenly-matched teams, ultimately everyone’s eyes are still fixed on the main prize they’ll be fighting for later in the summer. So, while this game matters in terms of our respective standings in the Division One table – and our respective prospects of making the final – that’s solely the extent to which it does.

From our perspective, it’s another test for us, in a campaign where we have somehow managed – having not been playing all that well for the most part – to stay unbeaten after four rounds. Our late comeback the last day enabled us to put an end to Armagh’s unbeaten run and now we get a chance to inflict a first defeat to Kerry this spring.

Although we both sit on seven points, Kerry can lay stronger claims than us to be the form team so far this year. We’ve both beaten Dublin and Monaghan but they did so with greater ease and they also thumped a Donegal team that really should have beaten us in the opening round.

While we could easily have found ourselves pitching up at Austin Stack Park tonight with only a point or two in the bag after five rounds, Kerry are full value for the seven points they have on the board coming into this game. Jack O’Connor’s team may still be a work in progress – aren’t we all? – but they’re moving well and their highly-vaunted attack hasn’t found it overly difficult to run up winning scores.

The loss of Seánie O’Shea tonight is a significant, though far from fatal, blow to Kerry’s chances. With the likes of Moynihan, the two Cliffords and Geaney in their attack, the home team still have plenty of offensive options at their disposal.

From our point of view, Rob Hennelly’s return is important and you’d imagine the Breaffy ‘keeper will be looking to find clubmates Aidan O’Shea’s (who makes his first start of the year tonight) and Mattie Ruane with his restarts. With the likes of Stephen Coen, Oisín Mullin, Jordan Flynn and Diarmuid O’Connor also providing a physical presence for us in the middle third, I’d expect we’ll be looking to exploit an element of weakness in Kerry’s ranks around the middle and turn it to our advantage.

Meetings between these two counties over the last decade have tended to be close affairs and, more often than not, have turned out to be fiercely contested. Tonight’s game could well – if the inclement weather doesn’t make a total hames of proceedings – produce another contest in the same vein.

For us, getting a result from this one would, of course, be great. so far this year we’ve moved on with a sense of purpose from last year, all the while putting distance between ourselves and our ghastly implosion last September. It’s important that we continue to progress down that road and a win tonight would definitely represent further progress for us.

Safe travelling to all who are heading to this evening’s game. For those club members who can’t make it, we’ll be providing some colour from Tralee on Discord and, of course, we’ll have our Final Whistle podcast out soon after the match has sounded at Austin Stack Park.

Right, time to get ready to hit the road south. Soon after that it’ll be time to head to the ground to watch the lads take on their main rivals in this year’s Division One.

Here’s to another positive result for us, here’s to making further progress towards a place in the final. Let’s get to it. Up Mayo.

85 thoughts on “Game day – keep moving on up

  1. For weeks both inside and outside the county fans and pundits alike have been waiting for this contest to give us a real sense of where both teams are at. Unfortunately the weather isn’t going to play ball so I’d say we’ll probably learn little or nothing from tonights game. The winner will be the team that has the most fight in them for breaking ball and turnovers. I think the result tonight is of less importance as the conditions, style and tactics will in no way replicate summer football. However still hoping for a good performance and most importantly no injuries.

  2. Hard to argue with you WJ. Like you say, ‘ghastly implosion’ is almost a polite way of describing the manner in which we underperformed when the grand prize was there for us. So the further we can bury that dark day, the better for all.
    Regardless of conditions, i do think management will learn a lot about the character and attitude of the present blended crop of players.
    Im a bit surprised to see AOS starting as he can waste a lot of energy chasing shadows, as against the focussed performance when launched from the bench. However, theres no doubt, he deserves his chance.
    The weather will be the same for both teams, whats at stake is the Psychological advantage should the teams meet in the championship, and if not then the mental hardening up of the victors as they prepare for championship.
    So lets not talk of excuses for not winning before a ball is kicked. A cracking match in progress and the winners will be all the better for their victory

  3. Like any game I’d say it’s there for the taking and we should go for it but it will be long forgotten about come championship. Without David Moran on the pitch Mayo have stronger fielders and power players including Flynn in the middle third and the inclement weather should allow us make use of this potential advantage. I thought Moynihan was poor vs Tyrone last year but looked very good in Sigerson so he’ll take watching. As always David Clifford needs very tight marking and Oisin is the man for the job. Other Kerry forwards can do damage also but David Clifford is in POTY territory most seasons. I hope Mayo win for another reason, Jack is so dour he takes the joy out of the game, any game he loses is a good game for me. I like Kerry and their footballers but not Jack’s style. Their fans won’t care if it works but I for one hope it doesn’t.

  4. @Shuffle deck – I think I might go with Billie Joe over Boyler and stick o’hora on Clifford. The two reasons for me being, Mullin has experience of marking him before, and I’d like to see if Padraig can match him. The weather makes it a night for power over pace.

    Another thing is that with O’Shea out, we can focus more on our half back line as an offensive platform but this probably not something we’d have had the foreknowledge to prepare for, so it’ll be interesting to see our approach here

  5. I know that we’re all currently focused on the game tonight, but want to wish the rossies luck against Derry tomorrow.

    I can’t think of a more upbeat way to end the leagues than with 3 Connacht teams on show on league final day.

    That said the devil in me, would love nothing more than that division 2 final being a repeat of tomorrows game

    I should also mention that it’d rather unlucky if there isn’t a Connacht side in the division 4 final too

  6. Safe driving to all travelling, the weather looks like it might improve at around 6pm but there is a strong wind so it will be a difficult encounter for all involved regardless. With Sean o Shea picking up a slight leg injury he could prove to be a massive loss to us tonight as he is the director of operations in our forward line. My best hope is that no player gets injured considering the conditions.

  7. Like others have said this game will no bearing on championship unless a key player gets a serious injury. Its an opportunity for a fringe,/young player eg Boland or Carney to put in a performance gsin conference and make an impression. On a bad night for football with two strong defences there may not be much in it but Kerry forwards may find it easier to get the scores needed to win it.

  8. Good luck to the Mayo team and supporters this evening! I’m looking forward to the match.

    Hope everyone really enjoys it and it’d be great to get a win. Fingers crossed. I’m behind them.

  9. are the yarrah boys playing it cute leaving O Shea off, if they win without him great booster for later in year, on the other hand if they loose, will say there were not at full strength.

  10. @culmore, you think they are being cute by not playing an injured player ?

    He’s a huge loss for Kerry, the best number 11 in the game today.

  11. Pissin here in Sligo…….I presume it’s as dirty a night in Tralee…….Might suit us……

  12. NUIG kept David Clifford scoreless from play in the Sigerson final so our experienced backs should be able to do likewise

  13. Jesus Christ can RTÉ not organise some rain cover for Boyler and the lads!!

  14. Rte seems to have no interest in showing kick outs. Such an important part of the game.

  15. Great to see Colm Boyle on the RTE panel Yet another Mayo voice on the National station.

  16. Great win for john maughans offaly..they have a chsnce of staying up now. Maughan 30 years a top manager now…

  17. David Clifford is a class act as we all know and now that Kerry have tightened up their defence they are my favourites to land Sam in July. If only we had a Clifford

  18. Entertaining game in horrible conditions. Goals win games. Some great scores by ROD and F Boland. No injuries and o psychological damage mission accomplished.

  19. Turnovers were almost our downfall two weeks ago , today they were , aided by a crazy tackle by O’Shea which gifted Kerry the winning point

  20. God I am tired watching this game,I need a rest before Mayo starter are only giving them a false sense of security we will hammer them in the championship

  21. That game was there to be won if we were more clinical. We don’t have the forwards though and we won’t have them come championship either.

  22. I don’t think either team was fully committed.. The big question still remains, what is our plan B. When our attacking half backs are targeted, what do we do then? That still hasn’t been sorted. Fergal Boland did very well but we are still very light up front. It’s not a bad loss all things considered, a draw would have been nice but it’s not a disaster.

  23. ROD had a great game.
    We could have won it in the end.
    One of our midfielders had a nightmare game.
    We need to win our last 2 games to keep momentum going into the Galway game.

  24. Can anyone tell me why Fergal Boland was subbed? He was probably the most likely man to pop a point at the end.
    Giving away soft frees killed us at the end.

  25. Unlucky lads. A shame to not get a result there. The kerry hype machine is once again in overdrive and they are well beatable. Positives to be taken from the game. O Donohoe is top class, good first half by Flynn..and Boland can still kick points when given the chance. Onwards and upwards.

  26. Not all that bad not all that great , my opinion for all it’s worth and as outlandish as it may seem , James Carr would of scored two goals tonight .

  27. By the time Pat Spillane is finished this evening we will know every single thing he likes about Kerry.

  28. Diarmuid need to go back to 11, Aidan as impact sub gave 3 scoring frees away, The kicking game goes out the window when Aidan plays. Not sure why Carney was taken off so early.Jordan Flynn is improving. Ryan o Donoghue clear MOM, Alot of the forward positions still up for grabs. Stephen Coen will be lucky to hold on to his jersey as Hession when match fit should be starting

  29. Thought there was an element of shadow boxing tonight.
    Mayos intensity in the tackle at times was 5% off championship level. Fergal Boland was good after he got to the pace of the game, he had a horrible turnover early leading to a Kerry point, Ruane played well in flashes. ROD gave The much vaunted Tom o Sullivan a torrid time i felt.
    We need Cillian so badly to have a chance later in summer

  30. CarraigDubh – which midfielder had a nightmare game? I honestly didn’t see that. Ruane got 2 points, Flynn a couple of misplaced passes in the first half but very good otherwise. Aidan gave away the last free but won plenty of ball. Certainly not a nightmare performance!

  31. Coen has completely lost form I’m afraid. Hasn’t played well since last year. Aidan has a greater impact off the bench, that much is clear now.

  32. I know it was only a league game in March but why in the name of all that is holy did Horan not start Boland in the All Ireland final? He is absolutely miles ahead of the likes of Walsh and Carney. Shouldn’t have been taken off today either.

  33. Mullin was kind of wasted there tonight. He’s an ok man marker but he’s a superb attacking defender. If Harrison can come back in and be a lock down defender it could free Oisin up.
    We also have a growing issue with our captain starting to struggle for his place, let’s be honest he’s not in form in 2022 so far. Coen has credits in the bank having performed well amid the disaster last august v Tyrone but it’s not ideal when the captain is a marginal call to start the game…

  34. R O D best Mayo player by a mile, Aiden needs to go back to a sub role, still a few forwards short to win All Ireland, noticed tonight some very bad passes by Mayo players both hand and kick passes,some of which were very high and hanging in air. Cillian needed back to take pressure off Donaghue. But not bad display overall.

  35. I may be delusional, but I am thinking there is a real chance Kerry will soon peak, if they havent done so already this year. Jack O Connor reaction on the telly was more emotional than it should have been in the context of a routine league game they were favourites to win. That result gives us a chip on the shoulder . And we are not the finished article yet.

  36. Dave Johnson, good first half by Flynn? He gave away 3 terrible turnovers 2 of which led to scores for Kerry. Kerry tackling was top class. On other hand we gave away too many scorable frees. Very little between the teams otherwise and hard to read too much into the game other than Kerry look beatable.

  37. @Sean Burke what goal chances was even created for James Carr or anyone else to score two goals tonight?

    Mayo might have grabbed a draw but on the balance of play a narrow defeat was probably about right.

  38. Hard to know what to make of that, really. Once again a very poor opening period from us, I reckon three or four of their half-time total came from turnovers, handling errors or rushed kickouts. Created two goal chances but botched them both. Kerry made a lot of hay through fast ball into Clifford and Brosnan, Oisín had a tough time on the former.

    Much better application in the second half, although we are still ponderous enough if our main linebreakers- Oisin, Mattie, Lee and Paddy- don’t get an overlap. We didn’t create any goal chances in the second half, though Kerry’s tendency towards fouling anything that gets close to their goal mitigates against that. We made good use of the mark, I thought, couple of really excellent fetches from Ryan O’Donoghue in particular.

    The conditions were also shocking, to be fair. Had the distinct impression that there was a bit of shadow boxing going on in advance of the championship.

    Couple of tough ties away from home to round off the league in Omagh and Carrick, hopefully tonight’s reversal will keep feet planted firmly on the ground. Galway is the one we really need to win, after all.

  39. I was just saying he was improving at winning high ball at midfield, justoutsideballgh.

  40. Question is will Boland get a decent run on the team? Clearly a half forward that scores consistently but gets few opportunities. Scoring forwards is the issue. Conroy is a huge loss. Agree also that Aidan has to be a sub, and Harrison is needed too.

  41. Stated on here two years ago that Aidan would make a great impact player and i stick by that , through no fault of his own a full game at this level even in the league is out of his reach , but what a sub he would make for the second half of any game .

    Despite the defeat Horan will be the more satisfied of the two managers going forward that’s for sure , and who could blame him given we have yet to put in a 70 minute game while the others including Kerry seem to be stalling

  42. Michael Plunkett marked Paudi Clifford out of the game. For a much maligned player he seems one of the first names on the team sheet currently.

  43. Playing the hottest team in the country in their own back yard and running them so close is in my opinion, the perfect result.
    We hopefully will get at least another win from our last 2 matches, held our own in a very tough division 1 and will be set up nicely for a cut at galway.
    After all isn’t that what we hoped for at the start of the year?

  44. O’Hora struggled on Brosnan. That was the losing of the game for me as Clifford will always get a few points.

  45. Look, said earlier if got a performance, and a win a bonus. Good points first, defense done reasonably well, although it was not the weather for free flowing forward. Midfield times were really good, and times Kerry midfield were very good. Thought Jordan Flynn picked few out the sky, when we needed it, and Ruane scored two great scores, so happy enough in that department. ROD outstanding and reminded me of Andy Moran how he slide in on ground and come out with the ball. Also Boland very unlucky to be taken off, look lively scored 3, so think that a mistake to take him off. DOC good, but had set standard unbelievable in first 4 league matches. So hope to see him back to his best next round. Negatives not as many here, half backs missed a few scores which expect to them to get, especially with the wind in second half. AOS good going forward, a bit labourered defending, but might play more a part than impact sub during the summer goes on. Forward great a pressurised Kerry defence, but might need a little more of a score treat. Look relative happy with what I see. Dose of reality not a bad thing in Mayo, we have a habit of getting ahead off ourselves.

  46. That was grand, kerry worse than I expected. Mayo probably didn’t play as well as I expected either, and we lost by a point on a dirty night in tralee. I doesn’t tell us much except that kerry are no great shakes in comparison to ourselves. We’re in decent shape but cillian and Jason would be big big boosts!

  47. Kerry very reliant on David Clifford and getting numbers back In defence, nowhere near as good as I thought they would be, That’s there best 15 bar Seanie O’Shea. We played OK but our finishing from play was poor on the nite and alot of bad turnovers, Fergal Boland needs more game time took 3 great scores from play 2nite.Thought we improved when Hession came in for Coen. Tony Brosnan got a point that looked wide, it was lucky if it even went over the post.

  48. Pleased with mayo, and result, but remember no Séanie o’Shea, so they will improve as well, expect us to beat Tyrone and kildare

  49. Would have loved a win but nothing lost in a one point defeat to the seemingly next unbeatable team if some are to be believed. Hopefully we will get some of the injured back for the big games and we’ll be in a better position. For years we’re hearing about no scoring forwards in mayo and isn’t it something else that when we get them we have 3 injured together cillian Jason and Tommy.. I don’t think there’s another team in the country with this misfortune

  50. Hard to know what to make of that game. We stayed in it despite some punishing giving away of ball in the first half.
    A lot of our scores came from frees.
    Ryan is a real threat for opposition defences. I like this and would like another forward or two that would frighten the life out of other teams. That fear factor can give us an edge in the big games.
    I agree with a poster above that it was interesting that Jack O’Connor showed a touch of emotion at winning that game.
    Kerry are tighter, more organised in defence and generally more controlled than before. That’s a development from them.
    We didn’t really get our high tempo game going (we showed touches of it, though), and that is our preferred way to win games. We’ll get it going, please God, in other games.
    I’m sure a loss like this will give us lots of chances to learn – we need to use those chances. We need to see where we are weak and fix those places.
    All season we have been leaving it late in games to win. I note we did that again today though we didn’t save ourselves this time. Maybe that does or doesn’t matter but it’s something to notice.
    Onwards and upwards with hopefully a good performance against Tyrone next day.

  51. Hard luck this evening,

    Some of the comments above are remarkable. We all have bias etc but to say Kerry are average without David Clifford is just off the wall.

    He actually had a quiet game today.

    The game means very little but it’s another clean sheet and that’s my most satisfying aspect given our perceived weakness.

    Both teams have lads to come back and I’ve no doubt we will meet again.

  52. Had to laugh when mcstay said at one point after Kerry had been awarded yet another soft free (they got a few tonight I thought)
    “I’ll be accused of some Mayo bias here but I’m not sure that was a free”

    Don’t worry Kevin. No one will ever have any fears that you are biased towards Mayo.
    Meanwhile Pat “what I love about Kerry” spillane spouting the usual cliches at full time

  53. Hard to get a clear indication of either team from that match, except Clifford is some player and Aidan O’Shea in only a 20 minute player max. He slows down our attack and can’t score.

  54. Don’t take it too bad West Kerry.

    Sure according to the gooch, we’re ” a plucky “, outfit. Not great. Just plucky.

    According to Spillane we have been on our last legs for the last eight years.

    If you want to hear stretched analysis you don’t have to stray out of your own county.

  55. West Kerry I dont know were you at the game but I thought the constant booing of the Mayo freetaker hy the Kerry supporters in the second half was in very bad taste and not something I ever heard at a Kerry game in Kerry before.

  56. @west Kerry it’s a Mayo forum so of course there’s going to be bias through the comments.
    The Kerry GAA pro boards are the same I’m sure if I looked over there.
    Here’s an unbiased take for you – I thought Paudie Clifford (who up to now I still think is unproven in big championship matches) was actually pretty influential tonight and caused problems for Mayo with his turnovers and immediate release of the ball to the full forward line. I wouldn’t agree that plunkett marked him out of the game at all to be honest, like some supporters are saying above.
    Would also say that Gavin white will strengthen the Kerry team a lot instead of beglaioch or the number 5 so it’s not just Sean o Shea they are missing. You guys are definitely suspect at midfield – very unconvinced that The 2 Na Gaeil lads are a genuine all ireland winning partnership.
    We are also missing some important soldiers however.

  57. If horan is going to persist with using mullin as man marker for the opposition’s best forward, he’d have been better going to Australia.

    Mullin wasn’t able to handle con o callaghan nor cathal mcshane in the last 2 all irelans and lets be honest clifford got the better of him tonight.

    He’s a midfielder and if not that a centre half back. We need him driving forward thats his greatest asset. What is it etched in my memory from the 2020 all ireland is him fielding balls in the middle of the croke park and fisting the ball over the bar as he ran at the dubs with abandonment.

    He is wasted at corner or full back.

    I thought brickenden showed well against the dubs and should have got a run in the full backline again against the best forwards in the country.

    Drop aidan and move mullin out.

    Keep boland…whilst named 13 he effectively played as a half forward and chipped in with 3 points from play, whens the last time our half forward line scored that much?

  58. It’s not for me to defend pundits that’s their opinion not mine.

    We certainly have issues around the middle but we have 4 lads to come back so our options should improve there.

    Regarding the booing etc, Look that happens everywhere McHale Park isint A friendly place and more should it be.

    Mayo to my eye have the same issue as previous years and that’s the FF line.
    Everywhere other line is pretty solid.

  59. West Kerry.

    You said you found some of the comments here ” remarkable “.

    You then go on to excuse the booing.

    Isn’t that remarkable.

  60. Agree with West Kerry – we had no shape in our full forward line tonight. Who was playing full forward? I thought Diarmuid could have been tried on the edge of the square for at least a spell in the second half. With Tommy out for the year we badly need Cillian and Jason back to put some structure into the inside line. Assuming they are fit – I would like to see Towey, Carr and Moran getting significant game time in next two matches to see what can they offer.

  61. Overall not a bad performance but Kerry will be better in CP, Seanie O’Shea was a big loss and their corner forward Brosnan created some damage. ROD played very well, Tom O’Sullivan is a strong corner back but he struggled tonight, Mattie and Jordan did ok in MF but we know that forwards is our weakness, lets see what Tyrone brings

  62. Southmayo exile, don’t know what gss as me you were watching, our inside line got practically all out scores .

  63. West Kerry, my gut reaction would be to agree with you that our issue is our full forward line, that we need more scoring threat there. It has been felt and said again and again, and very often by Mayo fans.
    BUT, and it’s strange – events bear it out – we manage to get scores across the pitch to win games.
    How often have we asked anxiously, “Where are the scores going to come from?” ? And they do come – often – and we forget.
    I will say reliance on a spread of outfield players can hamper us when, like Tyrone in last year’s AIF, a team marks them out of it.
    I suppose the spread of players option suits our high tempo chaos game.

  64. And just on that point we got a score more than Kerry tonight (just not a goal). I owe this point to Pebblesmeller on Twitter.

  65. Could someone at the game explain where Boland was playing? Did he play as a corner forward and drift out at times? It seemed on telly that Carney and Diarmuid were our “worker” wing forwards.

  66. I’m not excusing the booing but I live in the real world and it happens.

    It happened in Twickenham so don’t be shock if it happened in Tralee.

    I’m not patronising anymore as I’m in no position to but Mayo like Kerrh are inches from the all ireland that’s it. Inches.

    For me the loss of Conroy is monumental because I think you need 3 top forwards to win those bug games.

    I think we will be debating this in July if I’m honest.

  67. For what it’s worth West Kerry, I thought yea deserved to win tonight. Not by much but just about.

    We seemed to make pretty basic fouls in the wrong areas of the pitch at the wrong time in the game. Easy scoring opportunities for Kerry, given away.

    The two teams couldn’t be faulted for effort and the conditions were tough.

    I don’t think there was a bad or dirty tackle in the whole match.

    Ryan was outstanding again for us.
    Several Mayo players had a high error count and gave the ball away on numerous occasions.

    Plenty to work on and plenty to worry about.

    Kerry took their goal well and it proved to be the difference.

  68. Kerry deserved it tonight.We need Cillian James Carr, Harrison, McBrein and Docerty, Mark Moran fit and ready.
    That gives alot of options If McBrien and Harrison can get in the back line that gives Lee and Oisin ability to move out to half back line or even half forward for Oisin.
    Realise I am pinning alot on McBrien here considering he hardly ever aged but Boyler clearly rates him highly…so going on that really.

    Just on the booing….yeah poor but …it happens.
    Have to say I enjoy the Kerry guys and they win and lose with grace IMO.

  69. Lads I’ll leave it at this, Outside my own county there isint another county I want more to win the All Ireland than Mayo.

    I can’t think of another county with the guts and heart that Mayo have.

    I’m sorry thats not supposed to be patronising in anyway.

    A very good side that needs 1/2 more quality forwards to be a top side but very very close.

    Like how we need a FB line apparently ?

  70. Cheers West Kerry. Well done tonight. I think ye are favourites for AI and deservedly so. Your backs seem to have improved immensely under the influence of Paddy Tally Id say. Your forwards are better than ours, simple as that. Clifford is brilliant. Though he only got limited possession he scored some great points and of course Sean o Shea to come back is huge. We were as competitive and brave as ever.. Did a lot of good things but also a share of mistakes. O Sheas concession of free for ye to win it means that from some of our supporters perspective he should be an impact sub but I thought he played well. Ryan o Donaghue was good for us though he did not score from play. Tommy Conroy is a huge loss and we are in deep shit up front if Cillian in the whole of his health does not reappear soon. Our lack of scoring forwards has constantly cost us.Mayo will be difficut to beat come championship but without a more clinical set of forwards we will fall short again. As for the booing, you’re right. Its everywhere now including from ourselves. Dont like it but it reflects the world we live in.

  71. Felt like a good run out last night. Think we’d have been happy to hold Kerry to 1-12 beforehand. I felt we looked strong across the middle eight and made it difficult for Kerry to win primary possession. The slow ball from there on cost us though. Kerry much more lethal on turnovers.

    Great to see Boland put up his hand for a place though. Would Doherty-D O’Connor-Boland Orme-C O’Connor-O’Donoghue work as a front six?

    With the quality of backs available to us, Coen’s lack of form means his place must be coming under serious pressure.

  72. Bit of a curate’s egg of a performance, that. The positives:

    -Ryan O’Donoghue excellent again. I know people will say a lot of his scores came from frees (or marks, which he won himself) but Kerry have a tendency since Jack took over to foul when there’s a sniff of a goal on, so that has to be taken into consideration.

    -Big performance from Fergal Boland, which is a statement considering that he hasn’t had much football recently, and that the conditions wouldn’t have been thought to suit him.

    -Midfield was generally solid, couple of scores from Mattie, few big fetches from Jordan Flynn.

    -Hennelly came out to claim a few high ones, which is a sign of his growing confidence in something he has struggled with in the past.

    Negatives:

    -Padraig O’Hora was roasted by Tony Brosnan, in the first half anyway. I like O’Hora’s gutsiness but he’s not a particularly tight marker.

    -We missed two really good goal opportunities. We haven’t scored that many in Cillian’s absence, is that three goals from five games in the league? (Two against the Dubs). Hopefully if COC can come back, it will help solve that problem, no better man to sniff out an opportunity close to goal.

    -We were a bit ponderous in attack and didn’t look like breaking the Kerry wall to equalize until Lee Keegan took on the shot at the end, which was slightly off.

    Wouldn’t blame anyone for handling errors or some overcooked passes on what was a shocking night for football.

    I would also join in the defence of West Kerry here, he seems to be a balanced poster who is just giving an opinion. We could do with being a little bit less prickly at even the slightest criticism IMO. As for the pearl clutching about the booing of our freetaker, it’s not nice but a section of gobshites within our support have also been doing it in the past few years.

    Although I will say that Kerry’s new found defensive solidity seems to be based around the new structure that O’Connor has introduced, rather than individual quality. ROD definitely got the better of his opposite number this evening.

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