herald

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Kerry
 TO BE CORKED IN PAIRC

QUICK roll call.

Gooch? Galvin? Tomás? Brosnan? No?

Kissane? Canty? O'Neill? O'Leary? Quirke? O'Connor? Sheehan? No?

Anybody?

No wonder there's such apathy in Munster at the moment for the final of their provincial football Championship. Hard to sell tickets for the blockbuster when no-one knows the stars.

Drippy sentimentalism for the long overdue knocking of a ramshackle stadium aside, this one isn't grabbing the attention.

Which in itself is hard to fathom. Given the likelihood that one or other or both of these teams will still be standing when it comes to All-Ireland semi-final time. But doubtless, an era has passed.

One in which Kerry made seven All-Ireland finals in eight years, winning four.

And Cork lifted Sam Maguire for the first time since 1990.

A period in which they met in two All-Ireland finals (2007 and '09) and three semis (2005, '06 and '08). And when they used collide savagely earlier in summer for the Munster title.

suspensions

Outwardly, those matches were replete with collateral damage. Suspensions (who, for instance, will form the new Noel O'Leary/Paul Galvin duet?), harsh defeats, recrimination have all been key components of a Munster final afterwards.

Yet really, so strong were both Cork and Kerry over the same span, these tangles merely pointed out where and how much improvement was needed before the autumn trip(s) to Dublin.

Now, it's a little bit different.

Eamon Fitzmaurice had his crack at the All-Ireland with Tomás and Galvin and Brosnan but now, it's his job to build a team from beneath the foundations of the one that achieved all of the above.

Brian Cuthbert, really, didn't seem too displeased by the various retirements at the end of last season and you can see why.

Bar the now Australia-based Ciarán Sheehan, his team - the new Cork, with all their kicking habits and fast ball movement - probably had little need stylistically for some of the older of the retired posse.

So searching for a form line here is about as scientific as pinning the tail on the donkey.

Cork always do well in the League and they did again this year. Kerry rarely rustle themselves before July/August and they didn't here either.

And neither did much to draw attention to themselves in their respective Munster semi-finals.

Without Gooch, James O'Donoghue is as irreplaceable as it gets for Kerry and he returns from a shoulder injury just in the knick of time.

Heretofore hurlers, Eoin Cadogan, Niall Cahalane and Aidan Walsh, meanwhile, seriously beef up the Cork selection. Expect plenty of surprises. And a narrow Cork win.

ODDS: Cork 4/6, Draw 15/2, Kerry 6/4

VERDICT: Cork

MUNSTER SFC FINAL

CORK v KERRY

(Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Tomorrow, 2.0, Live RTÉ2)

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