Only the League but a vintage Kerry display against Kildare

March 18th, 2014
by Weeshie Fogarty

You can always gauge exactly the state of Kerry football if you stop and chat to those die hard Kerry supporters following the counties games both in league and championship. They know precisely when studying the Kerry displays just how their team is progressing. And it is my experience that many of these men and women who travel the length and breathe of the country supporting the boys know more about the game than most of the so called experts. And so it was last Sunday following Kerry's comprehensive and emphatic win over Kildare in Newbridge I lingered around chatting and the positivism and upbeat attitude from the afore mentioned supporters really said it all. There was a smile on the faces as they digested just what had occurred as each players display was fully discussed and scrutinized. Their verdict as I perceived it, a job well done, a work in progress and the Kerry period of transition moving ahead nicely.   And yes there is a lot to be very pleased with following this latest victory, and of course it's "only" the league, early March and yes it's only the championship that counts.

Eamon Fitzmaurice's thoughts may just have dwelt on the well known quote from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. 'Beware the Ides of March'  the soothsayer's message to Julius Caesar, warning of his impending fate as the Finuge man prepared his men for what was always going to be a difficult task in Newbridge. Defeat here would really plunge the county into the relegation zone, the good feeling engendered by the Tyrone victory would be swept away, the progress of the younger players may well be damaged and the county's fate would then depend on other counties results so it was a game in which victory was vital. And a senior loss following the disappointing display to Cork in the under twenty one game last Wednesday would have painted a very depressing picture indeed. And how the players responded. They simply picked up where they left off following the Tyrone display the previous Sunday and went out before the very passionate Lily White supporters in the packed stand and turned in a superb performance. Yes of course it is "only" the league but this for me was a vintage Kerry display. The new game, the specter of the dreaded black card hanging over players and the disappearance (for the moment) of those horrible swarming thirteen men behind the ball has brought a complete new dimension to the Kingdoms expansive all action play.

And it was the display of the forward division that really caught the eye. While we are well aware of exactly what Bryan Sheehan and Donnacha Walsh are well capable of, both men, exemplary servants of the jersey have nothing to prove. But it was the work of the other four starters that must have pleased the Kerry side line generals most of all. Daithi Casey raised three lovely points, one in the second half when he cut the ball over the bar from forty meters out was a class act. Stephen o Brien won virtually every ball he contested, this young Kenmare lad still has a lot to work on and he will be disappointed he did not finish with al least another three points to his name but he is a great find. He was denied a blatant penalty when he was literally rugby tackled in the square, no free, a shocking decision and a tackle that deserved a black card.

 Paul Geaney also impressed very much and read the situation beautifully when he was on hand for James o Donoghue perfectly placed pass for the first goal. And then there was Jamso, (that was how his late grandfather of the very same name was known), the young man is literally on fire at the moment and his marker will be having nightmares for a week following his attempts to curtail him. His goal was expertly taken and indeed, and this is a tribute to him in many ways he will be wondering if he should have advanced a little bit further when he saw two more goal bound shots saved by Shane Connelly in the home goal.  He could have had a second hat trick of goals. But for me it was the attackers over all display as a unit which impressed. All action, each man working to his maximum, running into the open spaces, demanding the ball, winning main possession, taking on their men and going for goal.

Yes indeed Kerry youth is having its fling. Mid field continues to please greatly and in defense the Rathmore man Paul Murphy continues to amaze and is turning out to be another Fionn Fitzgerald, reading the game well, brave and swift in the tackle, very good distributor of the ball and as hard as nails as is Peter Crowley. With Westmeath still to come things are really looking rosy in the garden  and Shakespheres "Ides of March" warning that this would confirm to be a very dangerous time is proving to have no bearing what so ever on the continuing evolution of Kerry football. We are witnessing the emergence of new Kerry stars. Enjoy the spectacle.

Fogra: With just nineteen days of March gone the competition to choose the Kerry Sports Star Of The Month has already reached dizzying heights. You read here last week how the brilliant Tralee Harriers shot put and discus Irish champion Clare Fitzgerald became the inaugural recipient for the month of February. Now so far included in the choice of winner for this month is James o Donoghue who in just two league games for Kerry has chalked up a staggering four goals and five points. Listowel Celtics brilliant young ladies soccer player Savanna McCarthy, just seventeen years of age made a March trip to Malaga, played with the Irish under nineteen team, helped draw with England (1-1), she scored in the draw with Denmark and helped defeat Sweden. And then along came Killarney man Jim Culloty to train Lord Windermere to win the most dramatic Cheltenham Gold Cup of all time. Amazing stuff and what will the remainder of this month revel. Kerry truly remarkable sporting county.

Radio Kerry - The Voice of the Kingdom