Buoyed up Brendans have quality to down Mid Kerry
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