It’s time for the serious teams to get going so I expect Mayo and Kerry to stake their claim

We’ll know more about the destiny of Sam Maguire after this weekend

Cork’s Eoin Cadogan attempts a block on and Paul Geaney of Kerry during this year’s  Munster final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Cork’s Eoin Cadogan attempts a block on and Paul Geaney of Kerry during this year’s Munster final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Wed, Jul 30, 2014, 12:00

In Tralee, you always know it’s coming close to business time when the Dome starts going up. This is the time of year you live for. Time to get your ducks in a row and your house in order. The festival will starts soon, the puck fair in Killorglin won’t be far away and fellas will start talking about heading for Dublin.

It’s time to put a few bob away for an overnight in the city, find out who can get you a bit of a break on a hotel room.

With Galway on the horizon, Kerry people aren’t totally sure what to think just yet. As I wrote here after the Munster final, the result against Cork was nearly too good. You came away from it thinking that Kerry would have nothing to fear no matter who they met in the quarter-final but at the same time, you knew that whoever it was couldn’t possibly be as bad as Cork were that day. That gives you the jitters a small bit.

On all known form, Kerry should certainly have too much on Sunday but then what do we know about that form? We know nothing really. We know that if you give the Kerry forwards a load of space 30 to 40 yards from goal, they will punish you. But why would Galway do that? Does anybody really believe that they won’t play a sweeper on Sunday and force Kerry to find another way?

That’s what makes Kerry people think that this is a slippery one. Everybody would have taken it at the start of the summer – a quarter-final against Galway is far from the toughest route to the last four. You couldn’t send away for a draw like that, to be honest.

But, in a way, the opposition isn’t what people down here are interested in. It’s more a case of can Kerry repeat what they brought to Páirc Uí Chaoimh. All the guys who played so well in Cork, can they do it again in Croke Park. That’s not a given.

The system Kerry played against Cork was built around Declan O’Sullivan, Johnny Buckley and Donnchadh Walsh covering all the kilometres you could throw at them and leaving James O’Donoghue and Paul Geaney inside. So what we need to see now is what O’Donoghue will do when he’s got a man on him and a man in front of him at all times. And how Geaney will cope with his first big day in Croke Park.

Interesting case

Geaney is an interesting case. He’s one of these players who might not be hectic in training but loves games. He’s not the fastest guy in the world and he’s not going to collect the ball 50 metres out and burn you for pace – his job on Sunday will be to stay close to goal and take his chances. His strength is in his finishing and I have no fear for him at all in this game. This is the kind of thing he’ll handle well.

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