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5 players to watch in the minor semi-final between Kerry and Mayo

Keep an eye out for these five hugely exciting prospects on Sunday.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

WHILE KERRY’S GAME against Mayo in tomorrow’s senior semi-final will take most of the limelight, both counties also contest the minor semi-final in the curtain-raiser at Croke Park.

Mayo arrive in GAA HQ as the defending champions, having defeated Tyrone 2-13 to 1-13 in last year’s decider. But Kerry have been in fine form so far this summer and are 4/7 favourites with the bookies to reach the final.

They’ve racked up some big scores so far this summer, averaging 22.5 points per game. The closest any team have come to them was Cork in the Munster final, who they defeated by four points.

Meanwhile, the Connacht champions had a facile 3-13 to 0-9 win over Armagh in the quarter-finals, but they will be best remembered for their thrilling come-from-behind win over Galway in the Connacht semi-final when it seemed they were on their way out of the championship.

Here are five key players to look out for on Sunday.

Killian Spillane Killian Spillane comes from a family steeped in Kerry football. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Killian Spillane, full-forward (Kerry)

The son of four-time All-Ireland winner Tom and the nephew of fellow Kerry legends Pat and Mick, Killian Spillane has football oozing through his veins. Last year he helped his club Templenogue to the Kerry Novice title and he’s been lighting up the minor championship this summer.

His Dad and two uncles have an incredible 18 All-Ireland senior medals between them so he certainly didn’t lick it off the stones. A two-footed full-forward and deadly accurate free-taker, Spillane has amassed 0-29 thus far in the championship, including 0-7 (0-6f) in the Munster final win over Cork.

Source: TG4/YouTube

Cian Hanley, centre-forward (Mayo)

Cian Hanley is another one on Sunday who has a proud GAA tradition in his bloodlines. Hanley’s big brother Pearse is a former senior star with Mayo, but is currently carving out a successful career Down Under in the AFL.

The Mayo captain was a regular on his county’s half-forward line during last year’s All-Ireland winning run, although a fractured collar-bone curtailed his involvement in the semi-final against Monaghan and ruled him out of the final.

Hanley typically lines out at centre-forward and has scored 2-8 en-route to the semi-finals.

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Source: ForKingAndCountry2014/YouTube

Tomas O’Sé, corner-forward (Kerry)

O’Sé has been making waves across the pond as a dancing sensation, having performed with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann on their 2013 Tour of North America. A world champion Irish dancer, O’Sé is quick on his feet on the field too and poses a real goal-threat for the Kingdom.

Tomas OÕSe with Sean Healy Tomas O'Sé: A world champion Irish dancer and a goal-hungry corner-forward Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

The corner-forward has found the net on his three starts so far in the championship, scoring 3-3 up to this point. After the quarter-final victory over Kildare, Jack O’Connor labelled O’Sé “as good a footballer as he is dancer.”

He will take some serious watching tomorrow.

Brian Reape, corner-forward (Mayo)

As well as being a headline writer’s dream, 17-year-old Brian Reape is Mayo’s star forward and he’s bagged 3-7 in his last two games – against Roscommon and Armagh.

The Moy Davitts man spearheads a very good attacking unit and having scored a brace of goals on his Croke Park debut, Reape will hope he can continue his rich vein of form against the Kingdom tomorrow.

Cian Hanley and Martin Flannery Mayo's Cian Hanley will have a big say on Sunday. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Micheál Burns, wing-forward (Kerry)

Burns comes from the hot-bed of talent in the Dr Crokes club of Killarney. To give an idea of how highly he is rated by his club, he was the one who replaced cruciate victim Colm Cooper in the All-Ireland club semi-final defeat to Castlebar Mitchells, while still in secondary school.

Burns, like the aforementioned duo, is in his second year on the county team. Equally capable on either-foot pace and eye for a pass mark him out as a key player in this Kerry side. Remember the name. A huge prospect for the future.

Source: ForKingAndCountry2014/YouTube

Are there any other players we should be looking out for? Let us know in the comments section below.

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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