Kerry don't impress in defeating Cavan in Croke Park

August 6th, 2013
by Weeshie Fogarty

That old adage, "hunger is the great sauce" was never more evident than what we witnessed in Croke Park last week-end as both Mayo and Dublin turned in a performance of pace, intensity, brilliance, superb scoring, wonderfully movement and most importantly of all a sheer desire and ravenous hunger which propelled them to splendid victories in their respective quarter finals. Now match this to the Kerry/Cavan game and you will have to come to the conclusion that this was really a damp squib and while Kerry were never going to lose this match their performance was a million miles from what will be require to win back their All Ireland crown. And as always Kerry manager Eamon Fitzmaurice was open and honest in his judgment of his men saying, "there was a major fade out there in the second half". He was in fact being very generous in his a judgment because one simple statistic sums up for the me the serious situation Kerry are in as they prepare for the All Ireland semi-final against the Dubs. And it is this. Leading 0-11 to 0-2 at half time Cavan outscored Kerry seven points to four in that second half and if the Northern s had not treated their opponents with the respect which they did in the first half and thrown caution to the wind the game would have been even closer at the final whistle. And they had so much possession during Kerry's second half complete fade out that they kicked nine wides from nine different players.

While not wanting to sound like "I told you so", last week in previewing this game I wrote here, "the biggest test I believe for Kerry will be their ability to perform to the highest standards in both halves. A second half collapse which we witnessed in the Munster final would be the greatest worry of all. Facing the semi-final against a far better side than Cavan requires right now a solid, comprehensive display which is badly needed to supply the impetus required to go the whole way". Well our worse fears have come to pass and that very poor second half performance last Sunday has once again come back to haunt Eamon Fitzmaurice and his side line generals. Now consider this. If Mayo or Dublin had been playing Cavan last week end I believe they would have literally ran up the proverbial cricket score which puts into prospective even more the complete failure of the Kerry attack, just seven of their fifteen points came from play, Cavan scored five points from play. Another worrying aspect of the display was the penchant by the defense to concede soft frees as Cavan played the short passing game in that second half inviting defenders to rush in and foul.

Kieran Donaghy who never got to the pace of the game should have been awarded a penalty in the first half and it was Johnny Buckley's all round play and free kicking which helped his side to a comfortable half time lead. Of course there were positives in the display. Colm Coopers pin point passing all day was a feature, however he should also be encouraged to get closer to opponents goal more frequently. Donnchada Walsh and Declan o Sullivan combined superbly at times in that first half, I was surprised that the Cromane man who raised three white flags was called ashore while David Moran will be very satisfied with his come back following those two horrendous cruciate operations. Perhaps it's worth considering placing the Kerins o Rahillys man on the verge of the square where his high, fielding ability and freshness might just add a badly needed impetus to a strutting attack. Anthony Maher, hugely missed will be back to partner Buckley for the Dublin game as will James o Donoghue, Aidan o Mahoney, Brian Sheehan and Eoin Brosnan has three further weeks to catch up on his fitness. Fionn Fitzgerald and Peter Crowley acquitted themselves very well as you would expect from men with plenty pace and very little mileage in their legs.

And it's this. Speed and pace which Dublin have in abundance. Much will be written and spoken about in the run up to this mouth watering clash with the city slickers. On the past week ends displays Dublin are raging hot favorite to reach the decider, as are Mayo. Kerry will have to show vast improvement to achieve what they did in 2009 when following a defeat by Cork in a re-play in Munster, a one point win over Sligo in Tralee they turned on a scintillating display in Croke Park to destroy Dublin, 1-24 to 1-7. Meath in the semi-final and Cork in the decider capped a fantastic come back by Jack o Connors men. And it all had stemmed from Kieran Donaghy's move to full forward against Longford in Killarney. Antrim had also been defeated on route. That was four years ago, fifteen of the men on that years panel are still there. Dublin have been my choice from the beginning of the year. They play with a breath of fresh air, no swarming; or thirteen men behind the ball, moving forward at all times at tremendous speed and their options off the bench are the best in the country.

Enough said about last weeks limp display against Cavan. Players, management and Kerry follower's world wide will anxiously await with well founded trepidation the coming semi-final. On present form it's a no win situation for The Kingdom. But we have often heard this before. Kerry is Kerry; they still posses the most gifted, skillful, natural footballers in the country, each and every one comfortable on the ball. Of this I believe unreservedly, give then space and room and they will destroy any team. And its here I believe the answer might lie. Dublin manager Jim Gavin believes in man to man marking, no swarming, this will definitely suit Kerry, Eamon Fitz and his men will burn the mid night oil as they set out their game plan and put into operation their strategy  behind the locked gates of Fitzgerald Stadium. What will they come up with?  It's a immense task, Croke Park will be packed to the rafters, the Hill will be a sea of heaving fanatical, highly passionate blue clad Dublin supporters and they might still be in line for  football/hurling All Ireland double which will only add greatly to the occasion. But the one burning, irritating, troublesome question that remains unanswered is still there for me. Can the boys produce that massive intensity required over seventy minutes and from one to fifteen to derail this Dublin speed train which is seemingly unstoppable at the moment? On the Munster final and Cavan displays the answer is a simple no.

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