Kerry looking more likely to prevail on Sunday

Sam 2011

It will, I know, be through wistful Green and Red tinted eyes that I’ll be watching the action at Croke Park on Sunday – with my own attendance at Croke Park for the final facilitated by those kind souls at Chill Insurance – but leaving our own travails aside for for now (we let the both of them off the hook in the last twelve months!), this year’s decider has to be seen as one to savour. Kerry, once more, aiming to stitch together back-to-back Sam Maguire successes and Dublin seeking their third title of a decade only half gone and looking to rack up a first ever championship three-in-a-row winning streak against the game’s aristocrats. What’s not to like about that?

Thirty years have passed since the only other Kerry/Dublin final I was at. The Green and Gold were aiming for back-to-back wins that day too and Dublin, like this time, had tasted All-Ireland success two years beforehand. The late, great Páidí Ó Sé captained Kerry to a four-point win on that September afternoon (on the same day that we won the minor final, beating Cork) and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Kingdom emerge from Sunday’s decider with a victory of similar proportions.

The main reason why I think Kerry will win is because in the key area where we were ultimately found lacking against Dublin, Kerry have riches in abundance. Our inability to get the right kind of ball into our forward line in the right way, coupled with our lack of a rapier-like cutting edge inside to complement Aidan’s ball-winning aptitude, meant that we were never able to take advantage of Dublin’s backline frailties. I doubt Kerry will have the same problems and it’s easy to conjur up a scenario that sees Dublin’s foul-happy defence getting gutted by the combined talents of Gooch, O’Donoghue, Geaney and the rest feeding off fast, high-quality deliveries from out the field.

The second big advantage that Kerry will have on Sunday – which we had too but never really exploited – is their midfield. Dublin cannot afford to go toe-to-toe here or else they’ll be destroyed so they’ll have to build from further back, like they did against us. We had some (though not enough) success in making life hard for them and I’d expect Kerry will focus on this too, as well as being prepared to go for long-range restarts themselves. Fitz won’t have needed to have seen Cluxton’s meltdown in the latter stages of the drawn semi-final to know that his lads will have to get under the skin of the Parnells man but it’ll have provided further evidence for him on the effectiveness of doing so.

The Fitzmaurice factor is, of course, relevant too. While I remain to be convinced that the Kerry manager is – as many Kingdom supporters would claim – an out-and-out tactical genius, it’s fairly clear at this stage that he’s no daw either. Having had an open book on Dublin twice in six days, you can be sure he’ll have come away from that double tutorial with plenty of ideas about what hammers he’ll want to see his lads hammering on Sunday.

That’s not to say that Dublin are without hope, far from it. It’s worth remembering that Kerry came within a well-executed James O’Donoghue dive from losing the Munster final to Cork and the Rebels showed over both matches, in particular the drawn game, how fallible Kerry can be against goal-hunting opponents. The Kingdom have conceded seven goals to date in this year’s championship (Dublin have only, as the Cork lads would say, left in four) and Tyrone provided further proof of the jitteriness that exists in their backline. And if there’s any team that knows how to put the ball in the net, it’s Dublin.

The two hard matches we gave them in the semis should also be of benefit. The resultant two-week gap to the final is pretty much perfect from Dublin’s point of view and with Kerry kicking their heels waiting for a whole month the Dubs should come into Sunday’s contest primed for action in a way that Kerry, with their long layoff, could well struggle to match.

But those two matches came at a cost to Dublin too. If they ever get around to letting the wider world know the details of their starting fifteen, it’s likely that Cian O’Sullivan won’t be named to start. If he is, then it’ll surely be a Donal Vaughan kind of situation only worse as O’Sullivan is the lynch-pin in their defence. If O’Sullivan is out, Dublin can, for sure, reshuffle – Jonny Cooper to 6 and Mick Fitzsimons (who’s actually a better corner-back than Cooper) in at 2 or else John Small in as a direct replacement at centre-back – but it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that any such switches will weaken Dublin, most likely fatally.

With the pain of our semi-final defeat receding to some degree, I’m happy enough – the likes of Cooper and McMahon notwithstanding – to be heading to HQ to lend my support to the team that ended our interest in this year’s championship. Much as I’d like to see them prevail (apart from anything else, if Kerry triumph on Sunday I’ll have been there to see them win as many finals as I’ve seen us lose – how sad is that?), I fear that Kerry hold more aces in this particular decider. I’d expect them to have at least three points to spare on Dublin at the finish.

47 thoughts on “Kerry looking more likely to prevail on Sunday

  1. Great piece WJ. would put plenty of “pundits” in the papers this week to shame

    I’m really looking forward to it now myself! Feck off with this Rugby craic 😀 😀

  2. Of the two, it’s a Dublin victory that I’d resent less, however, I would take a large measure of pleasure seeing their back line being gutted by the Kerry forwards, as you so eloquently put it, WJ! I’d like to see them foul their way out of the inevitable onslaught that they’ll face. That sort of muck needs to be exposed for what it is and I doubt even Coldrick can protect them from such nauseating tactics on this occasion.

    The Cian O’Sullivan bit is completely key to this game. As he had to be linked off after the semi, I don’t see how he can possibly start.
    I’ll be up in Dublin myself this weekend and might just have a wander around Drumcondra before the match to see if I can pick up a spare ticket. I can safely say that I certainly won’t be feeling bad about depriving either set of supporters with one!!! A bit cynical, I know, but there you go.

    All the same, it should be a mighty match.

  3. Enjoy Willie Joe apart from Connolly Mc Mahon & cooper I hope the dubs do win !! But think Donaghy Gooch maybe even Galvin will have a huge say in proceedings !!

  4. I can’t look beyond Kerry. They’ve had a golden opportunity to size the Dubs up and I doubt they’ve leave that knowledge on the paddock. Kerry by four.

  5. Argh disgusted, voted Dublin in error. I have no feelings of love for either county but I think kerry will win. Looking more forward to the fbd and our journey beginning again, assuming all is well with our team!!

  6. Dublin have named their team:

    1 Stephen Cluxton (Parnell’s)
    2 Jonny Cooper (Na Fianna)
    3 Rory O’Carroll (Kilmacud Crokes)
    4 Philly McMahon (Ballymun Kickhams)
    5 James McCarthy (Ballymun Kickhams)
    6 Cian O’Sullivan (Kilmacud Crokes)
    7 Jack McCaffrey (Clontarf)
    8 Brian Fenton (Raheny)
    9 Denis Bastick (Templeogue/Synge Street)
    10 Paul Flynn (Fingallians)
    11 Diarmuid Connolly (St Vincent’s)
    12 Ciarán Kilkenny (Castleknock)
    13 Paddy Andrews (St Brigid’s)
    14 Dean Rock (Ballymun Kickhams)
    15 Bernard Brogan (St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh)

  7. I’m looking for Dublin to win – not that I have any particular grá for them – but purely from a selfish Mayo perspective as we look forward to 2016. If Kerry get a good hiding on Sunday then surely a number of their auld stock will retire which will turn down their invincibility dial a few notches for championship ’16. A Dublin victory will see them happy and content for the next 12 months and less hungry for next years campaign. It could just work out in our favour next year if the lads can stoke up the fires in their bellies to give it another right blast again next season…

  8. Brilliant line Willie Joe, Fitzmaurice is no daw either? I do think he is slightly over rated but we will see Sunday how really good he is.. It’s better to have a lucky manager that wins than a tactical genius that loose.. Fitzy may have had two opportunities to size up the opposition but once is enough to see that there aren’t many opportunities to hammer the hammer against Dublin. I’m hoping for a game where skill gets the opportunity to flourish. He may not be my favourite personality in the world but there’s no denying his football brilliance and for the sake of the game I hope Diarmuid Connelly is allowed to play and show how it is to play the game at it’s very best.

  9. It’ll be like watching Liverpool play against Man City, not being able to decide who you want to lose more than the other. It would be nice to see the Hill quietened.

  10. Should be great game between 2 excellent teams. Both can play the game as it should be played but both well capable of resorting to the dark arts as we well know. Hope kerry dont go defensive as they did last year but but Fitz is shrewd manager and will do what it takes. Puke football is now acceptable in the kingdom as long as kerry win. Have admired dubs style of play over last few years with exception of draw v Mayo when for some reason they decided they wanted to act tough. Brilliant forwards on both teams with Gooch O Donaghue, Connolly and Kilkenny to name but a few so I reckon the team that defends best will probably win and for that reason I give a slight nod to Kerry The atmosphere dubs bring to the game is something else. My most memorable experiences in Croker have been Mayo v Dublin. Think of 2006, 2012 2013 and even this year and the hairs just stand on my head. Not much too memorable v kerry other than 1996 and last year where I think the second half of drawn game was the best I have seen Mayo play. Other than that a series of hammerings where our bubble was well and truely burst early on in most games. So maybe for that almost childish reason I m going to side with the Dubs PS Hope Martin the Dub and also Gamechanger two regular posters on this site enjoy the match

  11. Doesn’t matter to me who wins on the morrow.It only matters that Mayo are not there and the more I revisit those past games the more apparent are
    our many great strengths and few weaknesses. My flags are still flying at the gate abroad and it’s heart warming to see that lovely glowing flutter of green and red against a sylvan and watery backdrop.

    My wish is that all our players will winter well and come the new year, the process will revive itself and lead us through another memorable year and maybe the most memorable of our times!
    For what it’s worth, Dublin will win this one. Kerry have gotten away with murder on too many big occasions. Luck is a shady companion!

  12. You get the feeling that this game could almost turn into a war on the field. If the weather is as forecast, wind and rain, then that won’t help matters either. If Kerry win, Eamonn Fitzmaurice will become the first manager to win two in a row since Billy Morgan did it with Cork in 1990. There has not been much talk about this fact either, another example of the Kerry boys been able to stay under the radar. The thing is, we did a lot of things wrong against the Dubs but we still could have beaten them. Therefore I’d expect Kerry to do more of the right things against them and win by a couple of points.

    I don’t expect it to turn into a shoot-out. It could be more like the 2011 All-Ireland final rather than the 2013 semi-final meeting. It could be a real battle with plenty of hard hits. Kerry will be cute enough to get the Dubs into trouble as well if they try the same antics as they did against us. It’ll be very interesting from our point of view to check out what these teams do right compared to where we went wrong. Then it’ll be up to us to put these lessons learned into practice in 2016.

  13. With rain forecast there will be mistakes. In a tight game the team that recovers best from those mistakes could win. Jonathan Lyne nearly cost Kerry the semi but they out Tyrone’d Tyrone in the end on a wet day. Defence looks a bit porous and a bit lucky so Dublin might edge the goal count.
    If Kerry trouble Cluxton I think they’ll win.
    I’m hoping Kerry win because Dubs have so much resources they could dominate for 10 years an a loss could set them back.
    Kerry have a clear advantage on the bench though Macauley could be useful for 30 and McMenamon almost always gives them something Kerry have 5 or 6 potential impact subs. Also holding Marc O Shea in reserve.
    Cian O Sullivan loss if true could be an issue as him as sweeper is what they’ve rehearsed all year. Fitzsimmons is good replacement but still probably has an impact. Ye want first choice 15 to be fit.
    Kerry had a great dress rehearsal in the rain so I’m tipping them by 2.

  14. I hope Dublin win I met a man today who said he was glad Mayo Aren’t in the final because Kerry would find a way to grind us down and beat us or we would find a way to lose I was inclined to agree with Him because our sideline is inept compared to the two shrew masters managing Kerry and Dublin

  15. With most of the GAA world having their eyes set on tomorrow”s big game Mayo minor hurlers took to the field this afternoon in Ballinamore, Co Leitrim v Tyrone in search of the C All Ireland championship. After extra time and two tremendous Mayo fightbacks it all ended level in a welter of excitement after a last gasp Mayo goal, Mayo 3 = 15, Tyrone 2 = 18. Team: Ryan Kilbane, Ballyhaunis, Adrian Boyle, Tooreen, Shane Geraghty, Westport, John Cassidy, Tooreen,Evan Heneghan, Castlebar, Ross Egan, Tooreen, Niall McManamon, Conor Murray, Castlebar, Cillian English, Tooreen, Bryan Peoples, Ballina, Shane Kenny, Tooreen, Aiden Henry, Tooreen, Calum Gardiner, Ballyhaunis, Shane Fleming, Caiseal Geals, Sam Forde Castlebar. Subs used: Daniel Huane, Tooreen, Dylan Niland, Tooreen, Paul Lambert, Westport. One or two other subs may have been used but I cannot recall them, if so my apologies to them. It was truly a day when neither side deserved to lose. Incidentally the cup has been presented for the competition in honour of former late Mayo hurler Adrain Freeman who died so tragically in Australia in 2010. How apt it would be if its first resting place was to be in Mayo. Next day, D V.

  16. I believe Kerry will beat the Dubs and if they do so by pushing up on Cluxtons
    kick outs, I will be sad .In any event lets hope it is a first class encounter.

  17. donaghy is not starting so if the Dubs get off to a quick start and Fitzy has to start making subs earlier than expected I think that could unsettle Kerry and sway it in Dublin’s favour.
    I see Marc O’Se is not starting either. like lets face it boy’s if you were a Kerry Man or Woman you would be kinda of worried with those changes that are being made I’m saying it now nearly 4 weeks with out a good tough hardy match is defo against the Kerry lad’s. match fitness and sharpness only comes from playing in games. like Dublin must be animal fit at this stage. I think they will win but I hope its a real good game of Football.
    may the best team win, enjoy it lads tis great to say I am Irish and by Jesus I am proud, does not get better than this. can’t wait

  18. Classy, Mayo exile Bolton – trash-talking a player at 2am. Needless to say, I’ve deleted your comment and you’re off to moderation watch too.

  19. Colm O’Rourke is way off saying the other 30 counties should be fascinated with a Kerry Dublin final. As a die hard Galway fan do not find it fascinating. Totally disillusioned partly because of our poor fortunes for quite some time now and the fact we are not bringing on successful U21 teams. Ye in Mayo must feel worse in fairness with 5 provincials in a row and no all ireland. Today might be short term intrigue but I do not buy this Kerry Dublin nonsense. Anyway both could lose.

  20. Cait, Dublin scored 3 goals after lee dropped his score chance short, we were doomed all the way from when SOS and Barry went off and we kicked long from our goal to Dublins fresh midfielders. That’s the way I remember it.
    I would like to see both sides lose heavily today but since that’s not possible I will take a Dublin loss just to see the yahoos on the hill being silenced.

  21. Can’t see Dublin getting caught this year…. The top brass in the park want Dublin to win.. Dublin are their gravy train…there were a slight bit put out when Donegal spoiled their party last year….this game could be decided on a crucial refereeing and as before it may just favour the Dubs…… Last year Kerry had a few that went their way but I really hope that football wins out as the game got a good bit of negative press over the last few months…..don’t be surprised to see a Kerry player sent off…. As they will play close to the edge to day…..

  22. @cait..if Tom hadn’t broke his thumb..if seamie hadn’t gotten a black card…think we are well over laying blame at a players feet…

  23. I think Dublin will saunter home today without too much bother. The Dubs have won 3 All Ireands in the last 20 years and 2 of them come in the past 3 years. That speaks for itself. They could have beaten Donegal last year by a dozen or more points but unstead they lost. A glitz in The Dubs matrix of domination that will not be repeated anytime soon.

    The only team that can beat the dubs are Mayo and that won’t happen either unless the management, team and supporters really believe in their own abilities.

    The Dubs by 5 or more. Get this over with and roll on next year

  24. In fairness Cait, it’s been a long sequence of if onlys since the ’89 final. Think most people are sick to death of them and want to focus on what we can do positively to get us across the line.

  25. It should be an exciting hard to call but I think the dubs will do it.they have 6 scoring forwards.the Kerry full back line is weak cork exposed them earlier in the flip side Kerry inside forward line is strong as is there bench.
    I just think the two games Dublin had v mayo will be of huge benefit to them.
    Will be interesting to see will Kerry push up on cluxton kick outs .

  26. Better team won by a country mile! Hungrier there defence was outstanding they won every battle all over pitch on a poor day conditions wise!
    Kerry were disjointed that team were lucky last year to win a final and in my mind should never have being in a final last year.there golden generation of footballers are coming to an end aidan o Mahoney Marc o Shea Paul galvin Brian Sheehan Kieran donaghy were great servants to them ! And the gooch has not being the same player he was!

    But beware with Kerry they have won last 2 all Ireland minors and jack o Connor is over under 21 next year so they will have a talent pool to work with again!

    Are we that far off in Mayo maybe we not but Dublin had the forwards to win games and they could bring on mcmemamon and Alan brogan and don’t forget next year they will have Paul mannion and cormac Costello available to them to!

  27. Well that ended better for Kerry than I had anticapated. The weather saved the Kerry ladeens from total annihalation. The Dubs created at least 7 real goal opportunities and fluffed the lot of them. The final score does not reflect The Dubs total dominance.

    I note with anger that Mayo were given credit by all the pundits for bringing on the dubs this year and also kerry last year and were the making of both teams. In essence the pudits all nodding sagely agreed that Mayo were the litmus test for both kerry and dublin. Mayo it seems force the champions to dig deeper and are the fulcrum that creates champions.

    Mayo are not far away. We are all fucking ready there. We just need to really really believe. Mayo need leadership that will inspire them. I have no doubt more than ever that Mayo will win and go on to dominate for years and years.

    Come On Mayo!!!

  28. A lot of Mayo supporters taking a lot of encouragement from today’s game. Where as I can see the logic in it to a point, we are still short and until we try something different IE drop two of the hardworking forwards for two scoring forwards we will not get over the line imo.

    Kerry were dreadful and Dublin were far the better team but because Dublin didn’t put away some right good goal chances they could of been unjustifiably caught out. Killian young could have smashed the net and who knows what could of happened.

    Not a great occasion imo either, anti climatic , low key build up , the Kerry v Dublin magic is gone . Mayo are the best equipped to challenge Dublin next year unless we lose focus but my first point still stands , new ideas needed. Too long now with the same method and general workman like ethos , not saying we drop that we fucking add to it .

  29. I was at the match and it was electric Dublin v Kerry will always be brilliant, fair enough Kerry were not at it today but as I said in an earlier piece on this page, being with out a game for 4 weeks is no good for any team plus the two games they had against Mayo brought the Dub’s on 100% more. you can’t beat match fitness, hunger and desire, sharpness and that’s what the Dub’s have in spades there is no doubt about it they are the kings of football right now and are marching on with no dangers. the only team that can beat them now is them selves. Kerry are gone this team is anyway’s, at least six will go.. Sheehan, Gouch, Marc O’Se, Donaghy, Paul Galvin, Aidan O’ Mahony. the minor’s blew Tipp away but that game was over at half time.. so well done to the Kerry Minor’s and well done to a great Dublin team they were out standing.

  30. Bobconlon I made that same point last week that if Kerry losted the final today 5/6 would retire and that this Kerry team would be gone for at least a year or two. This makes Mayo second favorites to win the All Ireland next year. Dublin may have more players available to them next year but will they have the same hunger?? I don’t think so.. Some of their best players have gone back wards this year IMO. Mayo need to find 3/4 more players and they will match Dublin in the strength in depth department

  31. Forgot about o gara! Dublin are in there footballing prime now! They be there for next 4 or 5 years with this team!
    But it’s up to us and every other county to challenge them!!!

  32. totally agree with you there ” Logic”. but would it be fair to say that to find those 3/4 players with in the next 6 month’s is a very big ask? I mean even if they are found will they gel, there is so much for Mayo to find, where as in Dublin the hunger for the jersey is just raw and animal like. scary stuff for all the teams.

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