'The revenge factor is definitely one of the key things. Kerry are going to be a different animal'

Kerry and Cork renew their rivalry in Sunday’s Munster SFC final.

Kerry's David Clifford dejected after the 2020 Munster SFC semi-final.
Kerry's David Clifford dejected after the 2020 Munster SFC semi-final.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

RONAN MCCARTHY RAILED against the notion that Kerry are the team driven by hurt heading into Sunday’s Munster football final.

Much has been made of Kerry’s revenge mission as they face Cork for the first time since last November’s shock provincial semi-final victory for the Rebels in Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

But Cork’s subsequent Munster final loss to Tipperary prompted their manager to offer a reminder that the Kingdom “don’t have a monopoly on hurt” in his pre-game media duties.

Speaking on this week’s episode of The42 GAA Weekly, Marc Ó Sé believes both teams will be motivated by their 2020 championship exits.

“As a player I used to always find an angle,” he says. “Ronan McCarthy is right in what he’s saying, because if you look at what happened to them afterwards.

“They’ve Kerry beaten and then they think they’ve the job done and all of a sudden Tipperary come from nowhere and beat them. So he’s trying to find his angle as well.

“There’s no doubt Kerry felt they should have won last year. The big thing as well is it’s in Killarney. There’s going to be a small crowd but it’s still largely going to be a home crowd. There’s everything on Kerry’s side here. The revenge factor is definitely one of the key things.

“I can see from a Kerry point of view and certainly that will be a motivating factor, but also Cork need to find their own angle and try impose that on the game. I think Ronan McCarthy is dead right in what he’s doing.”

Amid monsoon-like conditions last year, Cork’s defensive approach greatly frustrated Kerry.

Peter Keane’s half-forward line that day included Brian Ó Beaglaoich, corner-back this year, and Ronan Buckley who played midfield during East Kerry’s run to the 2020 Kerry SFC title.

Ó Sé likes the look of the Kerry attack this season, while the entire team has a more offensive look to it.

“Paudie Clifford adds a new dimension to them. The big thing for me is the transition play, that they’re able to get the ball from defence to attack that bit quicker. That was something last year I thought was quite slow and the shape was very much lost for large parts of that game last year in Pairc Ui Chaoimh against Cork.

“Of course, maybe weather might have been a reason for that. I don’t think Kerry were trying to play as defensively as they were. The big thing is trying to get the ball up the field as quickly as possible.

“When you’ve players of the calibre of (Sean) O’Shea, Stephen O’Brien, (Paul) Geaney, the two Cliffords…Dara Moynihan is ruled out and he’s going to be a huge loss because he does add that bit of grit to them. I’ve great time for him he’s a really hard working forward.

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“I think Kerry are going to be a different animal,” he added.

It’s the first time Munster final to take place at Fitzgerald Stadium in four years, a venue where Kerry hold a formidable record in the championship.

“The venue is huge for me. We haven’t had a Munster final in Killarney in year, I was playing the last time it was there, because of Pairc Ui Chaoimh being closed for renovation.

“Since Pairc Ui Chaoimh has opened they’ve had the Munster final there for three years in-a-row. It’s back in Killarney now which is a huge motivating factor for Kerry and I think it’s going to really stand to the players.

“They train there, they’re used to it, it’s definitely worth three or four points to Kerry for me, because the last time they’ve lost there was 1995. It’s a huge help for Kerry.”

To listen to the full episode, go to

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Kevin O'Brien

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