The following article was published in the Irish Examiner following Kerry’s facile Munster GAA senior football championship final victory over Cork on Mon July 3rd 2017. – Enjoy, Ger McCarthy.
Midfield experience points Kerry to victory
Colm Cooper stated in Saturday’s Irish Examiner that ‘When Kerry hum, it’s because they have a key platform from the middle of the field to put the foot down and drive on’. How prophetic the former All-Ireland winner’s words proved to be.
David Moran issued an immediate statement of intent by winning the throw-in and setting up Kerry’s first score. True, Cork won their fair share of possession in the middle third, but over the hour, Moran and Anthony Maher underlined their importance to Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s setup with a commanding air display that tipped the balance in Kerry’s favour.
Add in Kieran Donaghy’s ability to drift out from the square and the Kingdom possesses three primary ball-winners capable of mixing it with Dublin or Tyrone later this year.
Cork, God help us
Another year and another route through the qualifiers beckon for the rebels. Erratic shooting, an unwillingness to push up on the Kerry kick outs allied with Cork’s failure to raise their game meant there was only ever going to be one result.
The gulf in class between a team challenging for the Sam Maguire and one still struggling to find its identity under their current management setup was never more apparent.
Defeat to Kerry was not unexpected but the lack of passion and intensity in Cork’s display meant this was one of Cork’s most underwhelming visits to Killarney for a Munster final.
Kerry’s ruthless efficiency
There were 41 minutes on the clock and sixteen points on the scoreboard before James O’Donoghue kicked Kerry’s first wide of the Munster final.
Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s side’s 79th provincial title was achieved without ever needing to move into top gear, an indictment of both their opponents’ failings and Kerry’s own ruthless efficiency. Tougher tests lay ahead yet the movement and accuracy of Kerry’s forwards suggests they are capable of unlocking the stingiest of defences.
No doubt, Fitzmaurice would have preferred a tougher test before heading to Croke Park but right now, Kerry are Dublin’s only serious challengers for this year’s All-Ireland.