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Marc Ó Sé: Why there are still question marks over Kerry despite strong league

The legendary defender says Jack O’Connor’s side are not the finished article yet.

Players compete for a long kick-out.
Players compete for a long kick-out.
Image: Philip Magowan/INPHO

KERRY SEALED A place in the Division 1 final on Sunday, extending their 25-month unbeaten league record in the process, but Jack O’Connor still has issues to address according to Marc Ó Sé.

The five-time All-Ireland winner recognises Kerry are much improved in defence, particularly with Jason Foley at full-back and Tadhg Morley at centre-back showing strong form.  

However, Ó Sé believes the rotation of Shane Murphy and Shane Ryan between the posts hasn’t helped Kerry, while a partner must be found for Diarmuid O’Connor at midfield.

“I still think there’s question marks,” he said on the latest episode of The42 GAA Weekly

“I’m not convinced with this chopping and changing of the goalkeepers week-in, week-out. We seem to be the only county doing it and as a result we have issues with our kick-outs when we go long. 

“I still see issues in the middle of the field. Diarmuid O’Connor is now the number one midfielder, a shoe-on. Jack Barry, I’m not really convinced. 

“David Moran, I think has got a minor setback with his rehabilitation, so I’m not sure if we’ll see him in the National League.  

“Joe O’Connor, he came on as a blood sub the last day, he’s your Kerry captain even that doesn’t really hold water. He was then brought on in the 64th of not 65th minute, you’re giving him five minutes. 

“The big areas Kerry need to focus on, yeah they’ve tidied up their ship in defence, is midfield and their goalkeeper, in terms of kick-outs, is an issue. I’d like to see Joe O’Connor getting more time. 

“I’m sure he will next week against Tyrone the fact that Kerry will probably put out a second team, but I’d definitely like to see a midfield partnership of Diarmuid O’Connor and Joe O’Connor. Because David Moran’s fitness is obviously questionable at the moment.”

Ó Sé said the rumour mill was in full flow in the Kingdom before the Armagh game with talk that David Clifford had suffered a significant injury.

The Fossa star was initially left out of the 26-man squad before replacing the injured Dara Moynihan and wearing number 10. He was introduced at half-time and grabbed 1-2 in the Athletic Grounds. 

“I was very surprised Clifford played. The thinking down here was that Kerry had nine points on the board and it was a long way to travel for a game. The rumour down here was that he’d broken a bone in his hand. The WhatsApp messages that were flying out the place…

“These rumours taking on a life of their own. I don’t know if it’s just Kerry but they’re always going on down here. 

“It was interesting to see him coming on wearing the number 10 jersey, Dara Moynihan not playing. 

“It was the same last week against Mayo when Paul Geaney didn’t play at all. I should have smelled a rat when my cousin Siún, who’s married to Paul, said she had two spare tickets if anyone wanted them. This was around 3pm that day.

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“At the end of the day, Clifford was the winning of that game. When he came on, he got the goal – I know the keeper slipped – but when he came on and got the scores he did, he was the difference between Armagh and Kerry.”

Kerry have other injury concerns, with defender Mike Breen set to miss the rest of the season

“I think the season is over for him after he ripped his hamstring off the bone,” said Ó Sé.

“He’s a huge loss because he brings huge physicality to that half-back line. Gavin White will definitely come back in after a hamstring issue. 

“Dan O’Donoghue got injured at the wrong time with a hamstring, he was going really well at corner-back. Dylan Casey has taken on that role and done very well.”

To listen to the full episode, go to members.the42.ie. 

About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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