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'Kerry have the best players, 8 to 15, in the country'

Sylvester Hennessey of Kerry’s Eye says The Kingdom will not be taking ‘stumbling block’ Cavan lightly.

Colm Cooper celebrates scoring a goal against Cork.
Colm Cooper celebrates scoring a goal against Cork.
Image: ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

SYLVESTER HENNESSEY WILL travel to Croke Park on a team bus with the Kerry Minors this Sunday. Once that game is over, he will take his place in the Hogan Stand press seats to report on Kerry’s Seniors as they take on Cavan.

Hennessey, better known as ‘Syl’, works for the Kingdom’s minors as an analyst and statistician. He is also the chief GAA reporter for the regional newspaper Kerry’s Eye.

The Rathnure [Wexford] native has been living in Kerry since moving west at the age of 13. He worked as an analyst for the senior team, under Jack O’Connor, from 2006 and was one of the main reasons the side introduced Kieran Donaghy to a regular, starting role with the side. He now works with the Minors.

Despite the county GAA links, Hennessey told TheScore.ie that objectivity will not be a problem when it comes to filing a report on Kerry v Cavan at the weekend.

“If you are honest as a journalist then nobody can quibble. I would not do reports on the Minors but I have often written previews of matches. If I ever had to file a report I would write it the very same as someone who was not involved with the team. I would try, at the very least, to be completely objective.”

Hennessey believes Kerry, under new boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice, have ‘an awful lot to prove’ this year. They looked comfortable in progressing from Munster and beat Cork with Donaghy — an attacking star for so long — on the bench.

Paul Galvin receives instructions from Kerry boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice. (©INPHO/James Crombie)

“8 to 15, they are the best team in Ireland,” said Hennessey. “I genuinely believe that. Their attacking prowess is second to none, although some in the Dublin media may disagree.

He added, “They are struggling defensively and Cork exposed a lot of weakness in their full-back line. They have no natural full-backs at present and are coping with lads coming to the end of their career or just starting out.

Kerry being Kerry, when they get to Croke Park they generally play better. They were beaten by Down and Donegal two out of the last three seasons so there is no way they will underestimate Cavan. The Cavan lads are a big stumbling block but if they can get pass them they will be extremely dangerous against either Cork or Dublin.”

Hennessey believes The Kingdom will be out for ‘a modicum of revenge’ against Dublin after their All-Ireland Final defeat in 2011. “As for Cork,” he added, “there will be no need for motivation there.”

He declared, “It all makes for a fantastic weekend of football. Two major cities [Dublin and Cork] going head to head, Mayo and Donegal needs no introduction and Ulster kingpins taking on the old dogs Tyrone.

“You then have Kerry and Cavan who haven’t met since 1997 but have that rich history that includes the amazing occasion of the Polo Grounds final of 1947.”

Cavan were the victors at the New York venue 66 years ago but Hennessey is happy to cede to subjectivity when asked for a favourite. He calls a win for The Kingdom.

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About the author:

Patrick McCarry

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