herald

Sunday 4 December 2016

Kingdom secure for long haul

Did he mean it? It's irrelevant now.

But you wonder whether Kerry were aware that Fionn Fitzgerald's point two Sundays back not only saved them from a first defeat to Cork in Killarney for 20 years, but a likely All-Ireland quarter-final with Dublin, well in advance of most expectations of when the two would meet this summer.

They're All-Ireland champions for many, many reasons.

Uniquely though, Kerry can time their run, showing just enough of themselves as required before unleashing the full splendour of their many and varied talents in September.

For all that, not everything is firing well.

The sooner Anthony Maher and David Moran (inset) are paired together in midfield, the better.

And it's difficult to imagine Kerry - for whom 'modern' defending has become a recently-acquired talent - leaving themselves so bare at the back again.

The suspicion though, is that they'll still be around in September, when they tend to do their best work.

KEY QUESTION: How quickly can 'The Gooch' relocate his brilliance?

Just how Kerry would it be for their most celebrated modern genius to spend two Munster finals a fortnight apart mostly bench-warming, amid worries over post-injury form, only to electrify Croke Park?

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