Kerry and Mayo advance to All Ireland Semi Final

August 5th, 2014
by Weeshie Fogarty

As expected Kerry and Mayo advanced to a mouth watering All Ireland semi-final clash in three weeks time and the one common denominator which linked both counties winning displays was very simple. Experience and composure when under pressure. Kerry displayed this in their win over an emerging Galway side which is well down the pecking order as regards winning titles and Mayo to an even a greater degree displayed what they have learned following two All Ireland final appearances and four Connaught titles in a row when they held their collective nerves to oust Cork.  In fairness to Brian Cuthbert's side we tend to forget that they lost the massive total of nine players from last years panel and the manager is in his first term of rebuilding the Rebels. The old adage, "you must lose one to win one" could be applied here in relation to Cork and Galway.

So Eamon Fitzmaurice and his side line generals will I feel be fairly satisfied with their days work as they were on a hiding to nothing taking on this emerging Galway team and it is also important to remember that Kerry are also rebuilding or maybe we should use the term in transition.  A defeat last Sunday would seriously damage the great work being done combining the younger players with the older warriors, a few of whom will I expect follow in then foots steps of Eoin Brosnan Paul Galvin and Thomas o Shea and ride off into the sun set whenever this championship voyage ends.

Any day you score 1-18 from play and 1-20 overall is a good days work and the trend we have seen so far that of having a good spread of score getters, nine last Sunday, is highly encouraging.  While a lot of debate and rightly so centers around the sensational scoring displays of the outstanding James o Donoghue we might tend to over look the superb contributions of Paul Geaney. The Dingle man is a class act and gets better with every outing, some of his point kicking is reminiscent of Mickey Sheehy at his very best, splitting the post in that very easy style of his from the most difficult angles.  And great to see Barry John Keane enter the fray and raise those three white flags. Beautiful long range kicking in the best Kerry tradition the Kerins o Rahillys lad had really bulked up; mad for ball and like any good forward always running into the open spaces. And now we must wonder just how good he is at the moment? Is he ready to start? Training behind closed doors continues to safe guard many secrets.

The patient play being instilled into the panel by Eamon Fitzmaurice to counteract the crowding sweeper defending was bourn out as they went 34 min before kicking their first wide, however there are problems to be worked on and improvements to be made. This is always a good complaint. The astonishing sight in the 31st minute of  the impressive Galway midfielder Thomas Flynn galloping through the entire Kerry defense  from all of seventy meters out to goal with three Kerry players trailing in his wake and unable to stay with him will be the subject of much debate as the DVD is viewed.  No one came to cut him off and never before in all my visits to Croke Park have I seen such a goal scored against Kerry. The message might be, run at the Kerry defense.  It was an astonishing sight. And remember Galway kicked ten terrible wides in the first half and while the Kerry defense were pressurizing their opponents the Mayo players if given those opportunities will punish you greatly.

Fionn Fitzgerald continues to blossom with ever big game, his work rate, ability to intercept opponents passes and his deliveries are spot on while Paul Murphy always given the hard job of marking the best of the opposition had a great battle with Galway's emerging young star Shane Walsh. The loss of Brian Sheehan with that hip injury just minutes following the throw in was a big blow to Kerry and his free kicking and high fielding around the center was greatly missed.  One established place kicker is a must in these big games.  A strong substitute bench without which you will not beat Mayo or win the All Ireland is emerging and this was proved last Sunday. Clearly the management has targeted this aspect of the set up following last years defeat to Dublin.  The astounding totals of forty three subs were used in the four championship games last week end, including the extra time game.   It is very evident and I have often spoken of this, David Moran needs lot of time in the action and the longer the game went on the last day the better he was getting, the same for Darren o Sullivan and Kieran o Leary.

There will be plenty of time to talk about Mayo, but one thing is certain, in my opinion they will be favorites to reach the final. Their work rate is tremendous, pressurizing and tackling the opposition in a ferocious manner as they attempt to work the ball out of defense. They have developed a ruthless streak, defend in mass and break quick. This year will make or break them, Eamon Fitz as always the deep shrewd theorist will have his home work done, and it will be a fascination encounter.  But Dublin still stand taller than all others.

Fogra; Kerry lost a life long passionate and exemplary football supporter when Monsignor Noel Brosnan was laid to rest last Friday in his home town Killarney. Born there in 1929 Noel later joined the priesthood and left Ireland to take up ministry in San Antonia Texas where he would spend the next fifty seven years working and devoting his life to the less privileged. Born in Mangerton View just a stones throw from Fitzgerald Stadium his next door neighbors were Paul Russell winner of four All Ireland senior medals and Timmy o Leary who won one senior and three minor medals so from a very young age he was literally ingrained into the traditions and history of Kerry football. He never lost his great love for the game keeping well in touch through Radio Kerry and The Kerryman and when he and his brother Noel also a Monsignor working in San Antonia were home each year on holidays their greatest past time was attending Kerry training in the Stadium during long summer evenings, meeting and getting their photographs taken with their Kerry idols. Noel is predeceased by his parents, brother Tom, and sister Phyllis and to his sister Ina, brother Noel and relations we extend our deepest sympathy's.

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