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Kerry's Dublin challenge - 'You are dealing with potentially the greatest team that has ever played'

After success over Tyrone, the considerable task of facing Dublin awaits Kerry.

IT WAS NEVER going to be solely about reflections in Croke Park yesterday.

When the All-Ireland semi-final business was completed and Kerry had overcame Tyrone, the spotlight switched to what lay ahead and the September decider.

Peter Keane celebrates after the game Kerry boss Peter Keane celebrates their victory

37 years after their famous attempt to complete five-in-a-row, Kerry football must ready itself for an attempt to halt Dublin achieving that fabled GAA feat.

“I was only a small lad,” reflected Kerry’s 2019 manager Peter Keane on that seismic loss in 1982.

“It was a big thing in South Kerry at that time because John Egan was captain. South Kerry won the county championship the year before and my father was selector and he was chairman of the South Kerry board and there was a big hoo-hah at the time who would be captain.

“At the end of the day, I think they picked the name out of a hat, whether it would be Jacko or Egan would be captain. For South Kerry to have the captain of the team who were aspiring to do five… obviously there is going to be a lot of talk in Dublin (like that). You are dealing with potentially the greatest team that has ever played.”

Did he tune in for Dublin’s second-half destruction of Mayo on Saturday night?

“Sure there was no point. We were worried about ourselves. There wasn’t much point getting hung up on the Dubs last night. We’ll take one game at a time, I’m telling ye that all year, I’m beginning to sound bored myself hearing it, but that is the reality.

“I told you I didn’t see the game. Seemingly, they put up a big score in the second-half against Mayo.”

David Clifford and manager Peter Keane celebrate after the game David Clifford and manager Peter Keane celebrate after the win over Tyrone. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Keane was in a relaxed mood, dodging any attempts to pin him down on the scale of the challenge that they face.

It was put to him that the odds of favouritism will be stacked overwhelmingly in favour of Dublin.

“I left the dressing-room below and Shane Ryan was on the phone to Gerard Murphy of Vincent Murphy’s Sports in Castleisland. His biggest problem was would he get two pairs of boots or three pairs of boots because he’d have the boots worn out so much from kicking the ball out to Dublin. That is going to be the biggest problem. We’ll come up in three weeks and we’ll do our best.”

The input of Kerry’s substitutes was critical to their victory with Tommy Walsh notably impressive.

“I thought he did well, would you agree?,” stated Keane.

“I think he won every ball that went in and offloaded it. He was a bit unlucky with the shot he took. Maybe, he just needed to steady himself a little bit more. He did very well in Navan too when he came in.

“I think our subs all responded and gave us something. That’s why you’re building a panel and that’s why you’re bringing fellas around with you – that when they get the opportunity that they’ll add something to it.”

Keane felt the movement and accuracy of his side was far greater in the second half to help them engineer a revival.

“I think our movement was much, much better. I think we squeezed them a small little bit more further up the field as well. And I think we prepared to take them on, which we weren’t doing that well in the first half. And, again, the accuracy was better in that second half than it was in the first half.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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