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Thursday 18 October 2018

Kerry courage to be tested

Allianz FL Division 1: Monaghan v Kerry (Inniskeen, Tom' 2.0, deferred TG4)

Kerry’s Éamonn Fitzmaurice
Kerry’s Éamonn Fitzmaurice

Eight days after holding out in Castlebar with 13 men, another feisty February challenge beckons for éamonn Fitzmaurice's Kerry young guns.

There is nothing easy about a Farney road trip, be it to Clones or Castleblayney or, tomorrow, Inniskeen.

True, Kerry emerged from their last visit to Monaghan, in 2016, with a comprehensive eight-point victory.

Countering that, they were ambushed by Jack McCarron & Co in Killarney 12 months ago.

This has been a very different Kerry in 2018. They are younger - far younger - yet already burdened with the great expectations that come with Kerry's recent All-Ireland minor back-story in a county that demands only the best.

So far, so promising: they've overcome a host of setbacks, many self-inflicted, to win their first two league outings. They've leaked five goals to Donegal and Mayo yet compensated through their own scoring efficiency.

Surviving those double-whammy dismissals against Mayo was, if anything, even more impressive than their Donegal fightback. "Courage" was the adjective cited by Fitzmaurice in describing that backs-to-the-wall victory.

A day-one home defeat to Mayo put Monaghan on the back foot, but the manner in which they held on for a one-point win in Kildare underlined their top-flight survival instincts.

ODDS: Monaghan 7/4 Draw 15/2 Kerry 8/13

VERDICT: Kerry

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