Comprehensive victory over Tipperary in the Munster Championship

May 28th, 2013
by Weeshie Fogarty

Eamon Fitzmaurice began his championship crusade in fine form last Sunday and while the paucity of the Tipperary challenge has just left a multitude of questions as to where Kerry might stand in relation to a clash with the likes of Donegal and Dublin nevertheless there was a touch of freshness, class, great movement and superb scores during this compherensive victory.  It was the fast movement of the ball by both hand and foot which impressed most and it is obvious that the side line generals believe this is the best way to break down the blanket, thirteen men behind the ball which will confront the boys when they reach Croke Park later in the year for the quarter finals. The freshness, fitness and sheer athleticism of the older men on the team continues to astound, despite all the mileage they have accumulated over they years and whatever analysis, scrutiny or study we will hear or read about Kerry at the end of the day for me two thing will decide their eventual fate. Hunger they say is the great sauce and while they are in my view six teams capable of winning the championship and very little between them it is the side with the greatest hunger that might come out on top. Kerry showed this last Sunday and their sheer work rate for the entire match was exemplary.  Secondly the avoidance of injuries to key players is vital to Kerry. With the exception of maybe two places the team is already settled, a huge bonus so early in the championship and I doubt if any team will match this Kerry side for sheer skill and class  

Colm Coopers display on the forty was near flawless and his new role is now clear but of course the selectors will know well that he will be literally a marked man when the big games, e.g. Munster final is reached.  Scoring 2-19 is a great days work in any mans language and to see eleven men get on the scoring board further emphasis what Cooper contributes to his spot, bringing others into scoring positions. Anthony Maher, Johnny Buckley, Peter Crowley, James o Donoghue and Kieran Donaghy and the amazing o Se brothers excelled and it was refreshing to see players sprinting to support Donaghy and take the quick pass when he gained possession. Waterford will offer the opportunity to further develop and perfect this new all action approach and expect an ever bigger victory next Saturday evening. Plenty of time to evaluate our prospects when the Munster final is reached but two incidents for me last Sunday are well worth recalling.  

The very first time I was conscious of the potential of Aidan o Mahoney was back around d 2002. I was at a county league game in Rathmore, Kerins o Rahillys were the opponents and the conditions were far from ideal. It was wet, heavy and windy. I was sitting in the stand surrounded by a group of die hard Rathmore supporters. It was mid way through the second half, the game was in the balance, the home side were attacking the dressing room end goal and then as if out of nowhere this block of a young fellow came charging out of defence with the ball. His drive brought him close to the stand and then it happened. Three O Rahillys players lined up to stop the solo run. One, two. three, heavy shoulder charges on the Rathmore man failed to stop his advance, two of the visitors went sprawling to the ground, the Rathmore man broke free, the crowd in the stand loved it, they roared their appreciation, it was thrilling stuff. This incident literally turned the game and the home side won. Aidan o Mahony had signaled his intentions to one and all that he had something very special to offer. He has gone on to become one of the warriors of this Kerry team and last Sunday in the second half against Limerick we saw another glimpse of that power and strength that might be required later in the year if Kerry face Donegal. Aidan charged past a series of weighty Tipperary tackles, he was fouled heavily, got his free but literally bounced back up and once again it was a throw back to that evening in Rathmore as the Kerry supporters on the Michael o Connor Hill roared in approval.

Another incident which occurred last Sunday but left a sour taste in the mouth was the yellow card issued to Paul Galvin. A Tipperary player charged out with the ball Paul Galvin as he is quite entitled to do stood his ground and met the opponent with as near a fair shoulder as was possible. It was a shuddering, crunching tackle; there was no malice intended. There was a collision of heads and both brave players received medical attention as they lay prostrate on the ground. Thankfully both were able to get to their feet and resume battle. But not before the Cork linesman Michael Collins had words with referee and county man Connor Lane.  And then to howls of anger and disgust from the Kerry supporters on the hill Galvin was given a yellow card for his troubles. It was a for me a terrible offensive decision.  Instead of been thankful that none of the players were seriously injured and sending them on their championship way Collins and the referee in their wisdom literally "added insult to injury" flashing that card. It was obvious the card was issued because it was Paul Galvin and copper fastened for me one of the major problems with most intercounty referees today, they simply do not have that feel for the white heat of championship and little understanding that this is a mans game and incidents such as this must be judged on their merits. As with the Aidan o Mahoney incident Kerry will need plenty courage such as displayed by the Finuge man if Donegal are opponents later in the year .

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