Liam Kearns with his Tipperary players before yesterday's game Cathal Noonan/INPHO
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Kerry's Sam chances, defensive Kingdom and Tipp hope to have a crack at last 12

Liam Kearns gives his views on the showdown in Killarney.

TIPPERARY BOSS LIAM Kearns was surprised by the defensive ethos adopted by Kerry in yesterday’s Munster final and feels that a lack of pace may be a problem for a team with All-Ireland aspirations.

Kearns watched Kerry negotiate the Tipperary hurdle en route to completing four-in-a-row in Munster yesterday.

As a native of Kerry and a man who attempted to plot their downfall in Killarney, he’s well placed to judge whether the current Kingdom outfit can lift Sam in September.

“In my heart, I’d say yes but in my head, I’d say no.

“The style of football and I’d say pace might be an issue. They have the forwards alright, if they got everybody fit, maybe.

“They seem to have a couple of issues fitness-wise, Anthony Maher and David Moran, James O’Donoghue certainly, if they can get him firing, he’s a class act, himself and Paul Geaney would do really well.

“They might find, when it comes to the All-Ireland, they might be lacking in a few areas. At the end of the day, their focus is the All-Ireland whereas our focus was playing today.

“They’re working at it and Eamonn thinks about it a lot. I’ve no doubt they’ll improve. They need to, I’d say.

“I’d have to say, they played everybody behind the ball, which surprised us. It’s difficult to score against a massed defence and that’s what it was for a lot of the first half.

“That did surprise us to be honest, we weren’t expecting that. Maybe they’re thinking further down the line.”

Paul Murphy and Robbie Kiely Kerry's Paul Murphy puts Tipperary's Robbie Kiely under pressure Cathal Noonan / INPHO Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

Kearns highlighted the disparity in panel resources as a key reason why Kerry stretched ahead at the finish.

“The big thing, the gulf between us, was the benches. They were rolling out David Moran and James O’Donoghue.

“When I saw James O’Donoghue coming on, I said, ‘That’s great now’.

“Ten minutes to go and fellas are getting tired at the back and he snipes three scores.

“We had a good start but we maybe needed to get more than we did. They just had a little bit too much for us.”

James O’Donoghue and Shane O’Connell James O'Donoghue in action yesterday for Kerry against Tipperary Cathal Noonan / INPHO Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

The Tipperary boss revealed that key attacker Michael Quinlivan had battled illness the night before the game.

“Michael was actually sick last night so he did well in the circumstances, he was up most of the night with a bug.

“Michael was definitely dangerous when he got the right ball into him but he probably didn’t get enough of it.

“We put some high ball in and he’s dangerous in the air but it probably wasn’t the right kind of ball.”

Tipperary’s focus now shifts to the qualifiers with a Round 4 tie looming in three weeks time.

“We’re in the last 12 so we owe it to ourselves to have a good crack at that,” stated Kearns.

“It’s well-documented the number of players we’re missing but the bottom line is that you have to come back stronger and better.

“We’ve talked to one or two players alright, there might be one or two coming (back), we don’t know for sure.”

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