herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Kerry have learned the hard way

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice and Dublin manager Jim Gavin shake hands after their draw in Tralee last month
Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice and Dublin manager Jim Gavin shake hands after their draw in Tralee last month

For Kerry, this Dublin thing is becoming reminiscent of the American journeyman tennis player, Vitas Gerulaitis who in 1980, after defeating Jimmy Connors following a run of 16 straight defeats to the great man, declared with mock pride: "Let that be a lesson to you all. Nobody beats Vitas Gerulaitis 17 times in a row."

Sunday will be Éamonn Fitzmaurice's 10th League or Championship match against Dublin and so far, he has collated just one win, one draw and a deep well full of misery.

Being the astute tactician that he is, the Kerry manager has pulled off mini victories within games but not enough to win any of the great wars.

This, remember, is the man who led Kerry to an All-Ireland success over Donegal at a time when the Kingdom's ways were being painted as dated bordering defunct while Jim McGuinness and his team were redefining the terms of engagement.

In Tralee, his team were hugely abrasive but that was only the platform from which they set about executing their game plan.

Some facets of which are self-explanatory.

Statistics

A GAA statistics website recently calculated that 60 per cent of Dublin's scores in the Championship over the past four years had their origins in a Stephen Cluxton's kick-out.

Croke Park crackled last August when Kerry scored two goals after putting Dublin's captain under extreme pressure.

And it wasn't by accident that Kerry's only recent victory in this fixture - that fraught League match in Killarney in 2015 - came about on the back of a largely from a similar tactic, albeit Seán Currie kept goals for Dublin that day.

Kerry were five up at half-time in last year's semi-final and four up in Tralee, so they're clearly doing something right.

Based on those two performances, we've identified five areas above where Kerry will seek to hurt Dublin in search of that desperately-needed win, while stopping the five-in-a-row.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News