From now until the end of September, all GAA eyes will be on Croke Park. Hurling takes centre stage today, but barring a draw, football will be at the top of the order for the next two weekends, with Kerry and Mayo starting proceedings next Sunday.
Ahead of the game, Kerry legend Pat Spillane was previewing the game in The Sunday World. Spillane spoke reservedly about his native county, identifying a number of concerns he has ahead of the first of this years All-Ireland semi-finals.
The former free-flowing Kingdom attacker feels the current Kerry management fail to share the same mentality;
“The ultra-cautious approach of the team management, both in terms of tactics and personnel, worries me”.
Having won three All-Ireland minor titles in a row in 2014, 2015 and 2016, and being fancied to make that four, Spillane feels that the Kerry management have not introduced enough of those successful young players leading to a potential lack of pace and energy in the side;
“They are likely to start only one player under 25 against Mayo, the half-forward line is picked more for their defensive qualities than their scoring ability, there are doubts over the pace of midfielders David Moran and Anthony Maher”.
Scoring and conceding goals has put doubts over how clinical Kerry have been. While they won comfortably against Cork and Galway, a failure from both sets of opposition to take their chances worked in Kerry’s favour.
“Their goal-scoring record is poor, they are averaging one per game. Their big worry is defence – they coughed up four goal-scoring chances against both Galway and Cork.
Kerry fans will remember how full back Mark Griffin was roasted by Andy Moran in the league and they are suspect when run at”.
Kerry are favoured to beat Mayo next weekend, but Mayo’s resilience can never be underestimated. Neutrals will hope for a repeat of the 2014 series between the sides, where a replay and extra time was needed to separate the sides.
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