KERRY need to toughen up at the back if they are to realise their hopes of prising the Sam Maguire from the firm grasp of the six-in-a-row seeking Dubs.
That’s the verdict of no nonsense RTÉ analyst and eight-time All-Ireland winner Pat Spillane who said Kerry can be wide open down the centre and that invited opposition players to run at them.
“The same problem remains when you run at the Kerry defence, particularly when you run down the centre,” he told the RTÉ GAA Podcast.
He recalled Dublin’s Eoin Murchin racing through from the half-way line to score the crucial goal in last season’s All-Ireland final replay and Brian Fenton causing similar problems in the first round of the National League last Saturday week.
Spillane noticed that Galway sharpshooter, Shane Walsh ran through the centre of Kerry’s defence, past two Kerry defenders to notch a goal in Tralee on Saturday.
Spillane, one of the most respected analysts in the game asked: “Would the Dubs have allowed David Clifford to run from the middle of the field right through the centre of the defence? Would Tyrone have allowed him to do it?”
The problem, the Templenoe clubman, maintains is that the Kerry full-back line comprises mainly of natural half-backs and there is a need for tough man-markers of the calibre of Dublin’s Philly McMahon or former Tyrone defender Ryan McMenamin.
Of Kerry’s chances this season, Spillane told the RTÉ Podcast: “We’re a work in progress… we’re still a good distance away from the Dubs”.
He said Peter Keane’s side are probably the second best team in the country but the defence must be sorted out.
“We are at the head of the chasing pack but we’re still a good bit away,” he remarked.
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