National League

Second straight defeat in the National League to Derry

February 11th, 2014
by Weeshie Fogarty

We were back to the swarming game in Fitzgeralds Stadium last Sunday as Derry came, saw and conquered a mainly inexperienced Kerry side and once again we witnessed a northern team frustrating Kerry as they rushed thirteen and fourteen men behind the ball from the very start. As in the past with many of the Ulster teams this ploy completely frustrates Kerry and to prove this point Kerrys last two big games, the semi final last year against Dublin and the recent league against the same opposition were the direct opposite as we witnessed superb open flowing football in direct contrast to last weekend. No matter what way you look at this it is completely frustrating to find yourself up against this massed defence and this allied to the greater physique of the Derry men it was always looking like the visitors would win. Derry's first victory in The Kingdom in twenty one years.  There are of course negatives and positives about every game and Eamon Fitzmaurice will and rightly so feel that despite two league defeats things are in a much better state than they were this time last year when unbelieveable as it sounds weakened Kerry side were even finding it even difficult to register a score.

I have been harping on here for a while in relation to the lack of physicality, strength and experience on the Kerry squad and once again we saw the same weaknesses last Sunday as Derry with a strong robust experienced line up the centre of the field kicked some massive second half points. Three superb Emmet McGuckin scores in the second half were really the deciding factor, Fergal Doherty and the all action captain Mark Lynch and full back Crissy McKaigue won most fifty fifty contests and at the end of then day the visitors always looked as if they would hold out for victory.

Kerry supporters as is traditional will feel frustrated and despondent following a second defeat, however on the plus side Paul Murphy continues to show promise and we might have another Fionn Fitzgerald in this young Rathmore man. Mark Griffin I feel is settling in at full back and the selectors are and rightly so preserving with the South Kerry man and with some cracking league games to come we might have a natural number three on the verge of the square. Early days yet and only time will tell in both instances. David Moran was improved from the Dublin game and no plaudits for writing that its loads of playing time Ogie's son needs following his two misfortunate knee injuries. Now I don't know if Anthony Maher was injured or not as he was substituted but if not it was puzzling to me to call ashore your tallest, strongest and most experienced player when many around him were being outmuscled. I referred last week here as to the lack of height and strength in the Kerry full forward line, or if you want to use the term, absence of a ball winner. A move to full forward for the Duagh man would certainly have given the Kerry attack a whole new perspective and a few long high balls into the Derry box might have yielded rich dividends.

Up front Connor Cox and Barry John Keane had impressive outings, Cox is a beautiful kicker of the ball and despite scoring three points from play he will be disappointed that that he did not add al least three more to his tally. Indeed eight bad wides in the first half (no such thing as a good wide) contributed greatly to this second successive defeat. James o Donoghue, Donnacha walsh and Jonathan Lyne are of course real championship starting contenders, add in Anthony Maher and David Moran to that supposition and that is in my opinion where Eamon Fitzmaurice is at the moment with some great league games to come.

And despite everything I make no apologies for saying well done to the Kerry selectors, very easy to be unconstructively and negatively critical as our young men struggle to find their intercounty bearings against top class opposition. No minor or under twenty one titles in the recent past, legends retiring, and as they say the chickens are now coming home to roost. Time, physique and fitness training, experience, guidance, encouragement is what's now needed. The Croke lads are of course absent but so are the Ballinderry boys from Derry so that cancels that out.  Its all right to say this fellow or that fellow are not up to it but will someone name out another six or seven lads who should be on the team at present?  I can't for one. 

Fogra: Launch of new Kerry Monthly Sport Star Awards
The first news for you here of an exciting new Kerry Sports Star Monthly Award. Amazingly there has not been such an affair running in Kerry so Terrace Talk with the program sponsors Randles Brothers Tralee and Killarney will now rectify this and listeners are invited to give their opinions on who they believe should be the first award nominee for the month of February. I have been tasked with the job of having the final decision on the recipient but I will take all opinions into consideration and I will also be contacting some of the top Kerry sports minds as to who might be in the running and by consensus then a decision will be reached each month. It will be a twelve monthly award scheme.
The winner will be announced on Radio Kerrys Terrace Talk sports program which airs every Monday evening 6-8 pm which I have presented for the last seventeen years and the chosen one, he or she will be in interviewed for the show and the award will be presented at a function at a time suitable to the recipient. Every single sport will be eligible for the award. And of course through this Kerryman column I will keep you right up to date on all the news of this exciting new Kerry Sports Awards. So who will be the February recipient?

Radio Kerry - The Voice of the Kingdom