Previews, U21s and stuff

This has to be a quickie as my eldest has to be down at Vinnie’s for her camogie in a bit over an hour.  Just as well there’s not a whole load to say, then, just the usual pre-match stuff.

Kerry were as good as their word and announced their team last night for tomorrow’s match down in Tralee.  Here it is:

KERRY (NFL Division 1 v Mayo, 15/3/2009): Diarmuid Murphy; Padraig Reidy, Aidan O’Shea, Tom O’Sullivan; Tomas O Se, Marc O Se, Tommy Griffin; Anthony Maher, Michael Quirke; Paul Galvin, Declan O’Sullivan, Donnacha Walsh; Colm Cooper, Kieran Donaghy, Darren O’Sullivan.

So, no place as yet for returned emigré Tadhg Kennelly but, as happened last Sunday up in Bellaghy, I’d say we’re certain to see him on the field at some point.  The other noteworthy aspect from our point of view is their full-forward line, which comprises the Gooch, Star and their captain this year, Darren O’Sullivan.  Our timing in having Ger Cafferkey struggling with injury and Donal Vaughan and Kevin McLoughlin lining out for the U21s today isn’t great, you’d have to say – even I’d have my doubts about Liam O’Malley’s ability to keep that Kerry front-line at bay on his own.  As PJ was saying to me the other day, however, the key thing is keeping the ball off them further out but, you know, those gents don’t need that much ball to do us real damage and it’s the threat of a few early goals that we have guard against tomorrow. Perhaps the time would be right for Trevor to reprise his successful role from last year’s league match where he played as sweeper behind the half-back?

Okay, onto previews for tomorrow, which – surprise, surprise – are universally in Kerry’s favour.  Well, the few I can find are, specifically RTÉ’s and Hogan Stand’s. Noboby’s awake yet at the Indo or the Times, from what I can see, but I’ll just make the enormous assumption that they think the Kingdom will edge it too.  Paddy Power certainly thinks they will, quoting the homesters at 3/10 to prevail.  Three-quarters of all respondents to the poll on this site say we’ll get bet as well, though most of you (44% of all votes) think it’ll be defeat with honour.  For more on tomorrow’s game, check out this excellent in-depth preview on There is a light that will never go out.  How many of the team in the picture can you name?

Before Tralee comes Charlestown, of course, with a really tasty Connacht U21 first round match with Galway (throw-in at Fr O’Hara Park is at 2.30 pm today).  We’re, of course, seeking to claim a provincial four-in-a-row at this level this year but we couldn’t have asked for a tougher start to our campaign, in a competition where there’s no back door and so no room for any slip-ups.  I won’t be going any real-time updates today as I’ll be out doing kiddie taxi stuff in the afternoon and the grass out the back really does look like it needs its first haircut of 2009.  I’ll be back later on, though, with whatever scraps of information I can collect about what will, hopefully, prove to be a successful start to the defence of our Connacht U21 title.

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