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Sunday 23 September 2018

Kingdom rookies to pass first litmus test

Kerry's David Clifford
Kerry's David Clifford

"There's only one gig in town!" Tommy Lyons regaled us, many moons ago, about the fanfare attached to his Dublin team's Croker exploits that summer.

Sadly, there are two gigs clashing (albeit thousands of miles apart) at 4pm tomorrow, which means plenty of sunshine GAA fans will overlook Kerry/Galway and switch over to France/Croatia instead.

Their loss?

Quite possibly, because this 'Super 8' opener comes laden with all manner of thrilling possibilities.

Much, though, will depend on the following:

(1) How will Kerry's decorated young guns, the likes of David Clifford, Seán O'Shea and Gavin White, adjust to senior combat in Croke Park against an opponent liable to be far spikier and less accommodating than Clare or Cork?

(2) How will Kevin Walsh and Galway approach the game? For all the manager's talk of "lazy punditry", there is merit to some of the charges that his team can be, at times, too defensive at their own expense.

Their Connacht final comeback certainly wasn't all down to a dramatic drop in their own turnovers - they engaged Roscommon higher up the pitch, played with far more intensity and everything else flowed from that.

If Galway are brave, and seek to utilise the maximum attacking impact from Shane Walsh, Ian Burke and especially Damien Comer, they have the weaponry to hurt a Kerry defence that still appears to be their weakest link.

For all that, this new and evolving and exciting Kerry look tailor-made for Croker.

ODDS: Kerry 4/11 Draw 9/1 Galway 3/1

VERDICT: Kerry

  • SFC Q-FINAL GROUP 1: KERRY v GALWAY (Croke Park, Tomorrow 4.0, live RTÉ 1)

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