Players’ view: What changes will Dublin and Kerry make and who will win?

Enda Smith, Brian Hurley, Mickey Quinn and Cian Mackey all give verdicts on the replay

Kerry’s David Moran and Dublin’s James McCarthy shake hands after the All-Ireland SFC final. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Kerry’s David Moran and Dublin’s James McCarthy shake hands after the All-Ireland SFC final. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Enda Smith (Roscommon)

What adjustments will Dublin make?

I suppose things didn’t go as well as they would have hoped for the last day. Obviously there’s talk of John Small being injured so I think Eoin Murchan could come into the team. He will probably take up Small’s position and do what Small did the first day on Stephen O’Brien. There’s talk about Connolly being in the team but I’m not sure about that.

I think they’ll also try and get Con O’Callaghan more into the game. They didn’t use him as much as they would have hoped the last day. Any time they let long ball into O’Callaghan – which was very little – he caused a lot of problems.

Con O’Callaghan can once again play a major role for Dublin. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho
Con O’Callaghan can once again play a major role for Dublin. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

What adjustments will Kerry make?

The obvious one people are talking about is Tommy Walsh, but to be honest I don’t see many changes – unless there’s an injury. I think they’ll hold Walsh in reserve because he’s been good coming off the bench. Adrian Spillane came off injured but it didn’t look to be too serious. They’ll keep Jack Barry on Brian Fenton so on the Kerry side I can’t envisage changes.

They’ll push up tactically and they’ll have to put somebody man-marking Jack McCaffrey after he was let loose the last day. It will probably be Gavin White. Regards changes though, I’d be surprised if there were any.

Which manager will be happier going into the game?

I’d probably be happier in Peter Keane’s shoes. Going into the final everybody thought Dublin would win comfortably but I suppose now they know Dublin aren’t super-human. They make mistakes. They’re an exceptional team, of course, but if you give them a good rattle they can be shaky. Dublin have a great bench but they didn’t do as much the last day as Kerry’s.

David Clifford missed a lot that he would normally have scored. Paul Geaney, from a scoring perspective, was quiet. Stephen O’Brien, probably their best player, was pretty quiet as well. So there’s as much room for improvement in the Kerry team as there is in the Dublin team.

Verdict?

I predicted Dublin, like most people, by six or seven the first day. I’m still going to go with Dublin but by two or three points. It will be extremely tight the whole way but Dublin will just pull through. I think it will be a late burst. When it’s up for grabs I think they will grind it out as they normally do.

From a Kerry point of view they will be disappointed that they didn’t hold on to the lead in the drawn game. But when the reflect on it they will say they’re right there. They’ll realise that they’re right up to the standard and that they can give them a good crack.

Brian Hurley (Cork)

What adjustments will Dublin make?

I don’t foresee any changes, to be honest. I think Dublin got a bit flustered due to the sending off, but I could see Jim Gavin starting Jonny Cooper again and I don’t see anybody else coming in. I heard there was rumours of Diarmuid Connolly coming in but I don’t think so. If they get fast ball into their full-forward line Kerry can hurt them.

Saying that, I don’t think Dublin will have such an off-day again. A lot of their bigger players didn’t show as good as they can and I suspect they will. I thought Kerry, the last day, could have used Tommy Walsh a lot more with the high ball so I suspect they will play the sweeper.

Tommy Walsh came off the bench to good effect in the first game. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho
Tommy Walsh came off the bench to good effect in the first game. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

What adjustments will Kerry make?

Look at Killian Spillane the last day; I think he changed the game for Kerry. I think he may come in for his brother, Adrian. He seemed to hobble off so he may be injured. But Killian scored 1-1 and set up another point. Will he get that much off the bench the next day or can you afford to leave him on the bench? I don’t know.

In fairness to Tommy Walsh, he’s a great addition especially with Kieran Donaghy retiring. Tommy is the same option with the same capabilities. I can’t see him starting but I can definitely see him playing a big part.

Which manager will be happier going into the game?

I would say Jim Gavin for a simple reason – he was down to 14 men for 35-40 minutes. Peter Keane is probably kicking himself slightly because they had the chance. Dublin had a chance, too. But even with a minute left they were holding the ball out near the side-line and got the free. So I think they will be relieved knowing that they can play better with 15 men on the field.

If you look at it, five minutes before half-time before Copper got sent off they were five points up and they were coasting. Lads like Brian Fenton, Ciaran Kilkenny and Con O’Callaghan didn’t reach their full potential the last day. I can’t see Kerry keeping them quiet for two days in a row.

Verdict?

You just don’t know how the game could go. Anything can happen on the day. There can be a sending off; big players can get injured. Kerry still have a lot to offer – Geaney and Clifford weren’t kicking as good as they would want it to be. Kerry missed two or three goal chances and they’ll bring belief from that.

But Dublin have serious, serious players and I cannot see them being as quiet again. I think it’s going to be a cracker of a game and I think it could come down to the wire. But I expect the Dubs to nick it by two or three.

Mickey Quinn (Longford)

What adjustments will Dublin make?

There will be massive changes. Kerry got their match-ups right the last day and I think Dublin have an awful lot more to learn. I could see James McCarthy given the role of going solely with David Moran at midfield. I was surprised to see Moran getting as much freedom as he did in the first game. So I imagine McCarthy will be tasked with doing that.

Because Jonny Cooper got sent off the last day their match-ups were then compromised and McCarthy was robbing Peter to pay Paul, trying to put out a few different fires. The big one will be who goes with David Clifford. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cooper back on him.

Jonny Cooper is shown a red card. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
Jonny Cooper is shown a red card. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

What adjustments will Kerry make?

Jack McCaffrey is obviously somebody they will want to nullify. When a wing-back scores 1-3 from play that has to be matched up right. That was the only match-up that Kerry didn’t get right. Who do they put on him? It’s a difficult one.

The half-back is somebody coming late at pace so you have to have somebody to sacrifice themselves there. I don’t know who they can put on him but that needs to be looked at. I’d like to see Kerry play their hand early to try and catch Dublin. Whenever Tommy Walsh comes on they know what’s going to happen. So I’d love to see them going out on the front foot.

Which manager will be happier going into the game?

I’d say Jim Gavin because they can see a lot more improvement. I don’t think Brian Fenton would have been happy with his game. He’s been a solid 8/10 for every game he’s played for Dublin.

In saying that, Peter Keane will look at the amount of chances they missed. If Kerry get in front and keep that lead for as long as possible it suits them – or it should suit them. Kerry may be happy to start the same XV but I imagine Peter Keane will have a few tricks up his sleeve. Dublin have a lot more to learn though and Kerry may have missed their chance.

Verdict?

I originally thought Dublin would win the first game by seven or eight. It could be down to maybe five or six this time. I think they’ll probably just kick on towards the end. With these two teams you just don’t know what’s going to happen.

You may think Kerry have missed their chance but it may have given them a confidence boost. I’d love to see it staying tight for as long as possible. Put the pressure back on Dublin and see can they deal with it. But Dublin by five.

Cian Mackey (Cavan)

What adjustments will Dublin make?

Dublin, to an extent, didn’t play near their full ability. Unless Eoin Murchan comes in for Jonny Cooper, I cannot see any major changes. Jim Gavin is not going to make a scapegoat out of Cooper just because he had three fouls and a red card. I think Michael Fitzsimons will pick up David Clifford; Cooper may pick up Paul Geaney, possibly. Other than that, I say that could be about it.

Cian O’Sullivan is a sweeper but they have Brian Howard coming back doing that. Then, you cannot leave any of the Kerry forwards free because they’ll make hay. I don’t think Gavin will make too many drastic changes. He’s a bit too intelligent to panic.

What adjustments will Kerry make?

If Kerry took their scores the first day they could have won the game by four or five points. So I think they just need to stay the same way and possibly bring on Tommy Walsh a little bit earlier, just to change it up. I don’t see too many massive changes.

If Walsh does come in it could work nicely. He was involved in 1-1 when he came on and Killian Spillane scored 1-1. I’d say they will probably try to spring those two from the bench again. I think Kerry will try to press the kick-out a little bit more. They got a lot of possession from pressing high. They probably just need to be more organised filtering back.

Kerry’s Killian Spillane scores a goal. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Kerry’s Killian Spillane scores a goal. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Which manager will be happier going into the game?

If I was Jim Gavin I’d be happier, knowing that with 14 men and playing at 65 or 70 per cent of our ability for most of the game we still drew it. Whereas Kerry played very well and still couldn’t put the Dubs away. I’d say Jim Gavin knows his team have a lot more to bring to the table.

The past experience of replays will have to stand to them. Kerry were coming into the game and people were saying they didn’t have a chance. They had to prove people wrong. Now, they have a chance, so it’s an added bit of pressure for them.

Verdict?

Before the first day I said Kerry to win by one. But I’d say Dublin will win by three or four. I think people were underestimating Kerry forwards’ ability to kick scores and put Dublin defenders under the cosh.

But Dublin are the best team to learn from out of any team I’ve ever seen or played against. They learn so quickly from what happened the week before. They won’t be giving as many free shots away. I also think the Dublin forwards will fire a lot more. Con O’Callaghan, Paul Mannion, Ciaran Kilkenny – I can’t see those boys being as quiet again.

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