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Survey: Kerry fans question team’s ‘negative’ tactics

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Kerry fans have voiced concerns about their team’s defence-oriented tactical approach after last Sunday’s unexpected championship exit at the hands of fierce rivals Cork.

When asked the open-ended question ‘what went wrong?’ in a poll carried out online by the Killarney Advertiser, defensive or negative tactics were mentioned in 25% of the answers provided. Team selection was the next most popular explanation with 16%.

Kerry appeared to be “more focused on defence than attack” according to one fan, while another claimed that “negative team selection and tactics” were to blame.

“Management went with a certain game plan, which is fair enough, but deciding not to change it up at some point was disappointing,” read another response.

Poor shooting and decision-making were the next most-cited factors at 14% each.

WORST

Around 45% of respondents said that Sunday’s result is as bad as the infamous defeats to Meath and Armagh in 2001 and 2002, while a further 23% ranked it as the worst Kerry defeat this century.

A significant portion of supporters disagreed with this assessment, however: 26% said the Cork defeat was bad “but not as bad as Meath or Armagh”, while the remaining 6% felt that it didn’t rank amongst Kerry’s worst results since 2000 at all.

When asked if Kerry or Cork deserved to win the closely-fought encounter, almost three out of four (73%) of Kerry fans said that The Rebels were worthy winners.

Looking ahead to the rest of the season, the vast majority (85%) of Kerry supporters believe that Cork will go on to beat Tipperary in the Munster final, but few believe they can go all the way and win the All-Ireland. Just 1% of those polled think that Cork will lift Sam Maguire in December.

Unsurprisingly, most Kerry fans (77%) predict that reigning champions Dublin will retain their title and make it six-in-a-row, with 11% opting for Donegal and the remaining 11% choosing Mayo.

As for the team Kerry fans want to win the All-Ireland, that’s an entirely different story. Just 5% of participants said they hope that Dublin prevail (these people are more than likely of the opinion that if anyone is going to stop the Dubs, it should be us).

One in eight supporters (12%) would like to see Pádraig Joyce’s Galway go all the way while a little under a quarter (23%) will be rooting for Donegal.

But there are no doubts about which team the largest number of Kerry fans will be throwing their weight behind now that The Kingdom are out of the championship. Almost half (46%) of Kerry supporters said they hope that Mayo break their curse and win their first All-Ireland senior football title since 1951.

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James O’Donoghue retires from intercounty football

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James O'Donoghue during the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Final. PICTURE: BRENDAN MORAN/SPORTSFILE

by Adam Moynihan

Former Player of the Year and two-time All-Star James O’Donoghue has announced his retirement from intercounty football.

The Killarney Legion forward stepped away from Peter Keane’s panel in 2021 to focus on club football, leading to speculation surrounding his future in the green and gold.

O’Donoghue has not featured under new manager Jack O’Connor and today, speaking to Off The Ball, he confirmed that he had actually privately retired last year.

“It’s all over, it’s all over bar the shouting,” the 31-year-old said.

“Last year, I was fighting an uphill battle. Realistically, I stepped away from the panel just before the going got very serious because I wasn’t really contributing. I told them at that stage that I was retiring but because Kerry were going too well, we decided not to put out a statement and throw all the good vibes out of the camp. So we just kept it under wraps.

“It’s a painful one, it’s definitely something that’s going to be hard, but it’s the right thing.”

Although he had initially resigned himself to stepping away for good, O’Donoghue did admit that he tried to get himself right for another cut under Jack O’Connor.

“I know Jack well, very well and have always got on great with him, and I know that if I was right, I could have picked up the phone and rang him and said ‘I’m thinking about changing my mind, what do you think?’

“I actually did give a go at getting into very good nick for it, just to see if I could give it one last go, but do you know what – my body wasn’t up to it, just that the way it is. I’ll go back to the club now, tailor my programme and I guarantee you that I might not see another injury, just the slight drop in intensity might suit me.

“If I was right I could have picked up the phone and we’d have had a chat, but it just didn’t feel right.”

O’Donoghue was speaking on The Football Pod, the OTB podcast which he will now host alongside Paddy Andrews and Tommy Rooney.

Despite his battles with injuries, the Killarney native enjoyed a memorable career for The Kingdom. After making his league debut in 2010, he soon became a key figure in Kerry’s forward division and was integral when Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s side won the 2014 All-Ireland final against Donegal.

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Killarney girls prepared for Munster final duel

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U16 Munster League Final

Killarney RFC v Ennis

Saturday at 1pm

LIT

The Killarney RFC U16 girls’ team are heading for Limerick today (Saturday) hoping to cap a magnificent season with a trophy.

This talented group of players, many of whom are new to the sport, have taken on all comers en route to the decider and now Ennis stand between them and provincial glory.

Even reaching the final is a great achievement for the Aghadoe-based club. Coach Diarmuid O’Malley says his charges will need to find “another level” to get over the line.

“We have seen [Ennis] play on a couple of occasions this season and what’s clear is that they have being together for many years,” O’Malley said. “We again will need to step it up to another level in order to be able to compete effectively against them.

“I look back on the success of the Limerick hurling team when they reached the All-Ireland final in 2018, not many gave them much of a chance at the time. The common theme was that “it’s a young team and their time will come”. They not only took the opportunity in 2018 but have since won three out of the last four All-Irelands.

“Finals are all about being present, patient and taking your opportunity, and not letting the occasion get to you. These girls have a great approach to everything they have done in the most challenging environment this year in the current global circumstances.

“It’s going to be one hell of a battle against a very good Ennis team and they are very much favoured to win, but nothing is beyond this capable bunch of Killarney girls.”

If Killarney are to cause an upset, their defence will be key.

“We have had a phenomenal run to get to the final and all through the journey the girls have not compromised on the quality of the rugby they are playing. The most pleasing aspect of our semifinal win against Bruff was keeping them to zero as we have put huge emphasis on our defence all season.

“We will very much approach the final versus Ennis in the same way.”

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