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Marc Ó Sé: Kerry can conquer Galway for All-Ireland glory

| 17.07.2022

Marc Ó Sé takes a look at next weekend’s All-Ireland Football Championship final.

Kerry v Galway (Sun, 15.30)

In many ways we have the two best teams in the country in the All-Ireland final and both fully deserving of their place.

They have served us with the two most exciting games of the year. Galway with that emphatic win against Armagh which went to extra-time and penalties, and Kerry with that Seanie O’Shea last kick of the game – a kick for the ages!

What strikes me about both of these teams is how both managers have tweaked their style of play and the system of how they now play the game. There have been question marks hanging over both defences in recent years but I genuinely feel that Padraic Joyce and Jack O’Connor have identified these areas and made huge efforts to improve them.

Joyce brought in Cian O’Neill and O’Connor added Paddy Tally. The latter is renowned for his defensive work, and having worked closely with O’Neill under Eamonn Fitzmaurice, I know that he will bring huge organisation to the Galway set-up.

Ambitious Joyce took this job three years ago and came out with a bold statement that he wanted to win All-Irelands with his team. Jack O’Connor is in his third term as manager of Kerry and has managed to win both the league and championship so he is going for the hat-trick.

Getting down to the nitty gritty of both teams is where this All-Ireland final will be fascinating in my opinion. I know a lot of things can change between now and after the final but if I were picking my All-Star team, I would pick nine or 10 players from Galway and Kerry.

As always, the match-ups are going to be key to winning the game. Galway have Sean Kelly, John Daly, Paul Conroy, Cillian McDaid, Damien Comer and Shane Walsh. Then there’s the quality Kerry possess in the form of Tom O’Sullivan, Brian O’Beaglaoich, Tadhg Morley, Paudie Clifford, Seanie O’Shea and the genius David Clifford. A player of his calibre deserves to get his hands on Sam Maguire.

Ultimately, I think this game will boil down to six key players and how the opposition can curb their influence. Galway have McDaid, Comer and Walsh, while Kerry have the two Cliffords and Seanie O’Shea.

Can Kerry stop Comer reproducing the form he showed against Derry? Can Galway stop the influence of the Clifford brothers?

Having seen Kerry kick long diagonal high ball into their inside forwards against Dublin and having seen how poorly Galway dealt with the high ball against Armagh signals to me how Kerry are going to set up. David Moran and Paudie Clifford’s first instincts are to kick the ball straightaway into the inside line and I think this could prove to be the match winner for me.

If Kerry can break 50/50 at midfield, I think that will be enough to see them through for their first All-Ireland since 2014.

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Warren Barner