Buoyed up Brendans have qual­ity to down Mid Kerry

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - SPORT - BY DAMIAN STACK

Mid Kerry v St Brendans Sun­day, Septem­ber 16 Fitzger­ald Sta­dium 2pm (Ex­tra-time)

THE early rounds of the County Cham­pi­onship are in­vari­ably a strug­gle for district sides.

It’s a chal­leng­ing thing to get a bunch of foot­ballers to­gether and to get them play­ing as a co­her­ent side straight away. What district sides need is game time and mo­men­tum to build up the sort of co­he­sion that comes more nat­u­rally to club sides.

Some dis­tricts are bet­ter at this than oth­ers – South Kerry nearly al­ways seem to come out of the box close to fully formed – but for oth­ers it’s a more grad­ual process and, that be­ing the case, for St Brendans to have played three games in a month is about as good a per­pa­ra­tion for a big game as a dis­tict man­ager could ask for.

A pre­lim­i­nary round game against West Kerry, a bit of a ham­mer­ing at the hands of East Kerry in the first round proper and last week­end’s vic­tory over Shan­non Rangers leaves Sea­mus Mur­phy’s men in a strong po­si­tion to chal­lenge Mid Kerry in Kil­lar­ney this Sun­day af­ter­noon.

The Saints’ de­feat to East Kerry prob­a­bly looks worse on pa­per than it is in re­al­ity – they were lack­ing Jack Barry and Ste­fan Okun­bor for that game – but it still would have taught both the play­ers and man­age­ment a lot about them­selves.

Mid Kerry, of course, have two games played of their own and that should see them in a stronger po­si­tion than they were three weeks ago, but the value of that ex­tra game can­not be un­der­es­ti­mated. Could it be enough to tip this tie the Tralee / North Kerry com­bi­na­tion’s way?

Eas­ily it could. We get the im­pres­sion too that, de­spite the blip against East Kerry, St Brendans are a com­ing force. Mid Kerry have some ex­cit­ing young tal­ent too – Mike Breen, Caolim Tea­han, Liam Carey and Fi­achra Clif­ford (left) – but St Brendans just seem to have a po­ten­tially nicer blend of youth and experience. Look re­ally and truly this is a hard game to call. On the ba­sis of last week­end you’d have to say that St Brendans pos­sess the more im­pres­sive mid­field, Barry and Okun­bor are prob­a­bly as good a part­ner­ship as what’s out there, and that could be telling.

In Kil­lor­glin last Satur­day evening it was prob­a­bly Le­gion’s dom­i­na­tion of that mid­field sec­tor that cost Mid Kerry most of all. Don­n­chadh Walsh did do well there when he moved out there from the end of the first half, but does Walsh – with Nathan Breen or pos­si­bly Peter Crowley – have what it takes to qui­eten those two for the full hour? It’s a tough ask.

Ver­dict: St Brendans

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