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5 talking points from today’s Kerry v Galway All-Ireland SFC quarter-final

From Kerry’s superiority to Shane Walsh’s brilliance.

James O'Donoghue was in fine form for Kerry today.
James O'Donoghue was in fine form for Kerry today.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

1. Kerry’s superiority shows once more

In the wake of the Munster final, the abject nature of Cork’s showing cast some doubt over Kerry’s true standing. Were they capable of scaling those heights again if they faced a heavyweight team?

That type of tough examination wasn’t presented to Kerry today but they still showed their superiority once more.

There was evidence of that strength in their powerful start to the game that saw them go 1-5 to 0-0 ahead by the 17th minute. They may have lost their way for a time either side of the half but Kerry showed their capabilities again at the death with a rousing last quarter.

Their lead was cut to two by the 51st minute but they steadied themselves to outscore Galway by 0-7 to 0-2 and claim a comfortable win.

2. O’Donoghue and Geaney impress again

James O’Donoghue was the chief conductor of the Kerry orchestra in the Munster final as he racked up 0-10. He followed that up with another confident display of scoretaking here, showing a comfortable ability to kick off right and left as he took the Galway defence for 1-5.

More importantly for Kerry were the further signs that Paul Geaney, in his first major season as an established fixture in the starting side, is the real deal at this level.

For the third successive game he impressed, constantly providing an outlet for deliveries and finishing up with 0-4. O’Donoghue and Geaney will face more difficult defensive screens to unlock for the rest of the season but they haven’t put a foot wrong to date.

3. Shane Walsh a star to come for Galway

Shane Walsh Shane Walsh has been brilliant for Galway this year. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

It’s three years since Shane Walsh lit up a Hogan Cup final for St Jarlath’s (Tuam) with a majestic display in a game that descended into a battle for stardom between him and Caolan Mooney of St Colman’s (Newry).

Since then Mooney has decamped to Australia to ply his trade in another sport while Walsh has remained at home to graduate to become the hub of the Tribesmen senior attack.

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He put in another really good performance today as he weighed in with 0-5 and notched a couple of really memorable scores. An U21 player this year, he’s showed enough in 2014 to suggest Galway have a genuine gem on their hands.

4. Kerry shown areas of concern by Galway

After a slow start to the game, Galway got to grips with the match and the occasion. In the phases of play either side of the midway mark, they asked questions of Kerry and showed up areas that will concern the Kingdom.

Thomas Flynn’s marvellous goal came after a lung-bursting run down the middle and will have been noted by Mayo at how Kerry’s defence can be prised apart.

Similarly the energy of Michael Lundy helped him be hugely effective for Galway and he cut through for a fine second goal for Alan Mulholland’s side. Becoming tighter in their rearguard will be a key focus for Kerry before their August 24th showdown.

5. Galway’s improvements in 2014

For the second year on the bounce, Galway exited the championship in Croke Park at the hands of a Munster force. Much like last year against Cork, they battled until to the final whistle today and finished their campaign having made notable strides in 2014.

Galway’s team is packed with young and emerging players, and they have added some steel. Making the next step is now the task that faces them. Trying to break Mayo’s stranglehold in Connacht will be key while their defensive style needs some work after leaking 1-20 today.

It’s an ongoing project and it will be interesting to see if Alan Mulholland remains in charge to oversee it.

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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