Kerry feeling impact of Donie Buckley; Chris Farrell backs foreign-born players

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Garry Ringrose and Jonathan Sexton arrive in Tokyo with the Ireland team yesterday. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Garry Ringrose and Jonathan Sexton arrive in Tokyo with the Ireland team yesterday. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

So there’s just one more day to go now before Dublin and Kerry do battle once again with the Dubs searching for a historic five in a row while the Kingdom try to do everything in their power to stop them. If they are to do so then plenty of credit will go to coach Donnie Buckley who has played a pivotal role in this run to the final for Kerry. This morning Seán Moran writes about the impact the coach has had since coming in to Peter Keane’s management team. Former players who have worked with Buckley are high in praise for his detailed methods, none more so than Stephen Lavin who knew him as a coach at Limerick. “He did everything and the detail he went into – one of the big things he excelled at was the match-ups. We played Meath but Donie had the match-ups specifically down. He knew Meath inside out and knew exactly who to put on who,” he says. Moving on and it was eight years ago now since the Dublin minors lost to Tipperary in what in some ways turned out to be a pivotal moment for many. Indeed 12 of that team went on to win senior All-Irelands and this morning Christy O’Connor writes that such a minor loss can often be the catalyst for senior success, as other players have proved down the years. Now while the excitement is building all over Kerry at the prospect of stopping the Dubs making history the anticipation is no more so in the Top of the Coom, the biggest pub in Ireland. Last weekend Ian O’Riordan was down around those parts for a wedding and this morning he writes that there wasn’t much everyone agreed on but one of the few things was that the 6pm throw-in time was very unfair for the travelling Kerry supporters.

On to rugby and the Ireland squad landed in Tokyo yesterday morning as they begin preparations for the Rugby World Cup opener against Scotland on Sunday week. And while Ireland’s so-called “project players” have come in for some heat since Joe Schmit selected his squad, they certainly have Chris Farrell on their side as the Munster man launched a stout defence of them yesterday. Farrell says players like CJ Stander and Jean Kleyn have made a huge difference not just to the national team but to the provincial set up as well. “I’ve walked down the streets of Galway with Bundee and it’s chaos – he’s such a leader down there and has done so much for the province,” he says. Don’t forget you can follow all of the build-up to Japan with columns, analysis, news, interviews, stats, fixtures and much more on our dedicated 2019 Rugby World Cup site.

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