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Wednesday 8 February 2023 Dublin: 5°C
# heated rivalry
'Smile and don't react' - Kerry legend gives advice if Tyrone engage in sledging
The sides meet in next Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park.

Heated exchanges between Kerry and Tyrone players in 2012. Cathal Noonan Kerry and Tyrone players clash in Killarney in 2012 Cathal Noonan

KERRY LEGEND JACK O’Shea has urged the Kingdom to “smile and don’t react” in the face of Tyrone provocation in next Sunday’s All-Ireland senior football semi-final between the counties at Croke Park.

Seven-time senior medallist O’Shea has also insisted that the Tiernan McCann saga will have absolutely no bearing on Sunday’s tie.

O’Shea believes that Eamonn Fitzmaurice and Kerry will have been preparing to face a Tyrone team containing McCann.

“I don’t think it will have much bearing on it.

“He got off last night (Wednesday) and there was never any doubt that he was going to get off.

Tiernan McCann Cathal Noonan / INPHO Tyrone's Tiernan McCann Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

“And he’s a very good footballer. He came on against Meath and turned the game around and he’s been really good since.

“He brings the ball out of defence and he’s a bit in the Paul Galvin mould, a very good footballer now.

“He would have been a huge loss to them but it’s a big bonus that he’s been released to play.”

Jack O'Shea Billy Stickland / INPHO Kerry football legend Jack O'Shea Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

O’Shea accepts that verbals will be a factor at Croke Park next Sunday, but urged Kerry to turn the other cheek if Tyrone engage in sledging.

He insisted: “That’s part and parcel of every game, you have to live with that.

“The best way to deal with that is to smile and don’t react. Kerry have to concentrate on themselves.

Counterattack

“Tyrone play a defensive type of game, get behind the ball and counterattack a lot.

“Against Monaghan, the gameplan worked on the counterattack with Sean Cavanagh and Darren McCurry up front. They were finding them with ball when they had to.”

Darren McCurry celebrates scoring a goal Cathal Noonan / INPHO Tyrone forward Darren McCurry Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

O’Shea is travelling to Dublin expecting a Kerry win, and believes this is a game that has to be won given the history between the counties.

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“If you went on form, it should be Kerry but having said that, we’ve always found it difficult with Tyrone over a number of years.

“I’m sure Mickey Harte will come up with a gameplan to stop Kerry playing.

Mickey Harte and Pat O'Shea Cathal Noonan / INPHO Tyrone manager Mickey Harte with Kerry's Pat O'Shea after the 2008 All-Ireland final Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

“Kerry have to be positive. They’re the better side and more established.

“If they apply their game, I feel they’ll be able to overcome Tyrone. I don’t think many in Tyrone would have expected them to be where they are.

“Going through the back door is not a bad thing when you’re rebuilding a team and they’ve made the best of that.

Respected

“They’re Tyrone and they have to be respected. I’m sure Kerry will respect them greatly.

“They’ll have to win pretty or win nasty. Semi-finals are all about winning and I’m sure there are still a few lads around still hurting from previous defeats against Tyrone.

“It’s a game they have to win and want to win. They haven’t a great record against Tyrone and they’ll want to put that straight as well.”

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