The Allianz Football League kicks into gear this Saturday evening with a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland final between Dublin and Kerry in Croke Park.
Gaelic football’s most storied rivalry penned another chapter in the history books last season with two epic encounters, the second of which saw Dublin claim a fifth successive All-Ireland title, something that hadn’t been achieved before.
Speaking at eir Sport’s Allianz League launch last week, Paul Geaney reflected on the Kingdom’s battles with Dublin in 2019, admitting that he hadn’t watched either game back but claiming he remembered both vividly.
“I haven’t really had time to fully reflect on it. I haven’t seen the game yet, even the replay. I’ll have a look at it a couple of times during the year. Most of it is in my head – I remember it vividly,” said Geaney.
“I would have reflected in the week after the game and had a couple of opinions.
“We’ll just move on. We’ll be back here against Dublin next weekend. Hopefully, we can put some of it right.”
Of course, there is one minor change ahead of the 2020 season opener at HQ. With Jim Gavin having stepped aside in December, Dessie Farrell has taken over as Dublin manager.
Geaney believes that while Dublin will present a new challenge under Farrell, the buck stops with themselves. The Dingle man believes it is up to the Kerry players to push on from last year and close the gap between them and the champions.
According to Geaney, the goal remains to beat Dublin in the Championship.
“No, it’s a different challenge more than anything. Dessie is obviously going to be bringing his own style and stamp to the Dublin team so they’re going to pose a different challenge for us this year to what they did before.
“It’s more for us and how we developed from last year into this year and how we continue to develop. If Dublin improve, we’re going to have to improve and figure out how to beat them.
“We still haven’t beaten them in the championship so that’s still the goal.
“It’d be different if we had been beaten and he came in and raised the bar to a level we didn’t see before. But we’ve seen what Dublin have been doing and we still haven’t reached that bar so we have to reach that before we start thinking about ‘is he gonna change much?’
“It’s uncontrollable but we’ll try to prove ourselves first and we’ll see down the tracks. We’ll get a good showing of what Dessie is gonna bring to the Dublin set-up but it’s about improving ourselves.”
With the highly anticipated encounter just two days away, Geaney admits that it is the biggest game of the season for Kerry outside of the Championship. The full-forward is relishing the chance to pit his wits against the best once again in Croke Park while admitting that having the game played under lights is an added bonus.
“Yeah, it would be. Obviously Cork are the main rival and neighbours and all that. But when you’re playing the best, for anyone else in the country, Dublin is the biggest game in the calendar this year.
“Whether you’re playing them at home in the league or playing them in Croke Park in the league, it’s the biggest game until the championship. Looking forward to it. Playing under lights in Croke Park, you don’t get to do it too many times. Every second year is a return fixture so I’m looking forward to it and I think all the lads are too.”