“They’re in phenomenal shape. There’s absolutely no doubt about that. The young lads have grown into men, there’s no doubt about that either.”
Former Donegal manager Jim McGuinness was full of praise for Kerry’s conditioning. The Kingdom claimed a 3-21 to 1-11 victory over Clare on Saturday in the Munster Gaelic football championship quarter-final.
Speaking in his role as a Sky Sports pundit, McGuinness remarked how we was impressed with the physical shape of the Kerry players.
Jim McGuinness managed against Kerry in the 2014 All-Ireland final.
“One thing that stood out for me is Kerry’s conditioning. They’re in phenomenal shape. There’s absolutely no doubt about that.
“The young lads have grown into men, there’s no doubt about that either. Their strength and their running power, from [number] eight up is top, top quality,” McGuinness said.
“So they’re ticking an awful lot of boxes that puts them in the position and rightly so to say they’re contenders for this year’s All-Ireland.
“And that’s why we’re zeroing in on these one or two things, because they’re the tiny things that possibly could get jammed coming down the stretch against a top, top team.
“And that’s basically it. So from a Kerry point of view, they’ll go home, they’ll try and zero in on where they feel the marginal gains will be found. But it’s very fine margins.
“And that’s what it is for three of four teams in the country.”
McGuinness was in charge of Donegal from 2011-2014.
Mayo claimed a 3-23 to 0-12 point win over Sligo on Saturday in the Connacht championship quarter-final and McGuinness feels the All-Ireland runners-up are becoming a running side.
“I think it’s safe to say after today that they are morphing into a running team. Time and time and time again, they’re doing that,” he said.
“To be a really good running team the final ball is really important.
“There was a couple of occasions in the Clare game and [against Sligo], it was like flicking a switch.
“You won the ball in your own half, you’re aggressive, you’re supporting the ball, it’s straight lines, it’s transitional football. There’s a lot of intensity in it, and a lot of aggression in it.
“So at the last moment, you’ve got to slow down, make sure of the final pass to pop the ball over the bar. And sometimes that final pass is the hardest part to do in really aggressive transitional football.”