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'We'll be certainly looking to appeal' - Kerry's man-of-the-match on All-Ireland final suspension

Stephen O’Brien’s black card today means his involvement in the 1 September decider is up in the air.

Stephen O'Brien with Peter Keane after the game.
Stephen O'Brien with Peter Keane after the game.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

IT WAS STEPHEN O’Brien who stole the headlines after Kerry’s dramatic All-Ireland semi-final win over Tyrone in Croke Park this afternoon.

The Kenmare man hit the all-important goal, tagged on two points and was named man-of-the-match but perhaps, most notably, was shown a black card as the clock ran down in their three-point win in front of 33,848.

The card for the cynical pull-down on Connor McAliskey comes as his third of the season, and rules him out of the All-Ireland final against five in-a-row chasing Dublin on Sunday, 1 September.

But O’Brien says the Kingdom will appeal the suspension.

“I was aware of that going in,” he said when RTÉ Sport’s Marty Morrissey put it to him that he could now miss next month’s decider.

“But I think the black card in the Meath game was very harsh. I was running off the ball and there was an accidental head clash. We’ll be certainly looking to appeal that one. 

Likewise, Kerry boss Peter Keane, who has steered the side to the decider in his first year in charge, was of similar sentiment.

“Well, I suppose if there’s a possibility of appealing it we will,” he noted.

When asked if he was concerned overall, Keane remained typically calm.

“Ah sure look, you want everybody that you can possibly have and Stephen is no different. He did well today.

“But look, the ebb and flow of every panel. You could be down training on Tuesday night and some fella gets a knock, some fella who isn’t with us today could be with us the next day. That’s a panel and that’s why you develop a panel.”

On top of today’s and the one against the Royals, O’Brien’s first black card of the year came against Galway in the league — that came when he was on a yellow, so then turned to red.

Defiant, the player added on Kerry’s second-half revival.

“We’re happy with it. We definitely needed it at half-time. There were a few choice words at half time and we came out a different team, that’s they way we want to play going forward.

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“Everyone knows that the substitution bench has a huge role to play in Gaelic football. There’s loads of lads pushing to be on the starting team and in the 26, that’s the strength of our panel.”

The credit for his goal went to Dingle man Paul Geaney.

“Paul put it on a plate for me, I was kind of one-on-one. Just hit it and hope for the best.

“It’s a huge challenge in the final against Dublin so we’re really looking forward to a great occasion.”

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Emma Duffy

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