Its a game GAA supporters have been looking forward too for weeks, we have live score commentary updates from Kerry v Dublin, we also preview the match along with all the team news. Throw in 3:30pm Sunday.
What is it about Kerry v Dublin? If the 2nd football semi-final lives up its traditional rivalry, it has the potential to transform an average 2013 football championship into a great one, setting us up for an intriguing conclusion to this year’s football championship.
There is something about Kerry v Dublin that excites every GAA enthusiast and what makes this game even more intriguing: Dublin wear the favourite tag, whether that will sit comfortably or not remains to be seen. This Sunday, the Munster Champions take on their Leinster counterparts in what could turn out to be the battle of the summer.
One could not but feel a little dis heartened by the lack of flair to last Sundays semi-final and no better way to counter it than with the meeting of urban v rural. There are no two teams who are so far apart geographically but so close in terms of a rich rivalry.
There have been many references made during the week to the great enmity that precedes this contest in Croke Park tomorrow. For Kerry, losing the 2011 All-Ireland final will go down as one of the greatest regrets in Kerry GAA for years to come. Kerry were home and dry and ended up losing the All-Ireland in the most cruellest of circumstances. There is no doubt that this is still fresh in their minds as they depart for the capital. Marc O’Sé has cited that All-Ireland loss as one of his greatest regrets. That pain and hurt will be garnered and released come 3:30 tomorrow.
Jim Gavin’s men on the other hand will be reminded of the hiding handed out by the Kerry men on their way to All-Ireland honours in 2009. Dublin won’t want a repeat spectacle. Like snakes in the long grass, Eamonn Fitzmaurice has kept his team well below the radar, and if you are to believe the rumours, there are no Kerry flags to be seen. No hype, no expectation, no pressure should amount to perfect preparation.
However, managers have changed in both set ups since they both last met. Jim Gavin will undoubtedly be feeling the heat even more this evening, but the way he has managed his side outside the field has to be admired. Unlike Dublin managers of the past, he keeps the media at arm’s length, and has a palatable calm nature while managing from the side line. This has been crucial in this year’s campaign, he is keeping his players settled and looking no further then tomorrow’s game.
Dublin’s half back line this Summer like that of Mayo has been the springboard for many of their scores and if a score has to sum up their Summer, then surely Jack McCaffery’s goal against Cork in the quarter final is a text book example of their style of play. It’s a combination of pace and support that has seen Dublin progress to tomorrows semi-final. It’s also this combination that has made this team an even better force then in 2011.
Much has been made regarding the form of Bernard Brogan. However, Dublin are carrying the ball into the forward line more than ever this year. If Kerry pushes up on their kick out and Fitzmaurice directs some special attention towards McCaffery and McCarthy, Dublin might have to change their tactics slightly and we could see a big performance from Brogan. This is why Dublin are favourites, they are able to adapt to circumstance.
Kieran Donaghy has not been named to start tomorrow’s game, but like King puck at Killorglin puck fair, he will be paraded before a Kerry crowd at some point. He was off pace in the Cavan game and his marker picked up the man of the match. However, that game was over at half time, Donaghy was getting his first start of the championship, and unlike Tyrone in last week’s game, Kerry have a substitute bench that are not there to make up the numbers. Like King Puck, it is yet to be seen whether his entrance will match his exit.
The Dublin full back line will be tested tomorrow and about time too. Ciarán Sheehan for Cork was a thorn in their defence last time out. It would be a blunder by Fitzmaurice if O’Carroll was not put under pressure in the air once again.
The final word will have to go to the best player on the pitch, and that is Colm Cooper. The revolving argument as to whether you keep a supreme talent close to goal, or let him roam around the 40 could be answered tomorrow. If Kerry are to prevail, he will have to pay the role of puppet master, he sees things before they happen, and in the centre half forward position, he can pull the strings. Beware although, if we see him behind his own midfield, it is an indication that Kerry are in trouble.
It would be the safer option to go with the favourites, but also the correct one! Dublin have looked comfortable all summer and Jim Gavin has installed a fresh hunger in their play. The Dubs have yet to reach full tilt and a big performance will be expected, and most likely delivered. Thy Kingdom will come but it will take more than a Hail Mary to see them through on this one.
Dublin: Stephen Cluxton; Jonny Cooper, Rory O’Carroll, Kevin O’Brien; James McCarthy, Ger Brennan, Jack McCaffrey; Michael Dara MacAuley, Cian O’Sullivan; Paul Flynn, Ciaran Kilkenny, Diarmuid Connolly; Paul Mannion, Paddy Andrews, Bernard Brogan.
Kerry: Brendan Kealy; Marc Ó Sé, Mark Griffin, Shane Enright; Tomás Ó Sé, Peter Crowley, Fionn Fitzgerald; Anthony Maher, Johnny Buckley; Paul Galvin, Colm Cooper, Donnchadh Walsh; Darran O’Sullivan, Declan O’Sullivan, James O’Donoghue.
Referee: Cormac Reilly (Meath)