FIVE TALKING POINTS AFTER KERRY BEAT MAYO
Tommy Walsh is Kerry’s Greatest Showman
So now we know. Tommy Walsh’s great abilities are not confined to the football field. He is also a wonderful singer.
When Peter Keane was asked how his players passed the time in their hotel after the game was postponed on Saturday night, few would have expected his response: “Yerra, we had a bit of karaoke and we were flying,” he told reporters, before divulging: “Tommy Walsh is a fantastic singer”.
Whether the towering Kerins O’Rahilly’s star entertained his team-mates with a rousing version of The Rose of Tralee or, perhaps, a lively rendition of Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport that he might have learned down under, we’ll probably never know.
But with a ballad or two on Saturday night following his own unique adaptation of Swan Lake in Fitzgerald Stadium during the Meath game, whether it’s as a footballer or a great entertainer, Tommy has proved that he is more than well equipped to go on the road.
Shane Ryan needs to look after No 1
It’s refreshing but… Shane Ryan needs to curb his spirit of adventure. The Rathmore clubman is a fine goalkeeper and, we all know, he is also a very effective full forward for his club. But he needs to be able to differentiate between the roles.
His occasional tendency to surge upfield and act as a sort of an advanced sweeper has given Kerry supporters a few nervous moments over the past two seasons but it backfired quite spectacularly on Sunday when his pass was intercepted and it led to a Mayo goal.
In the not too distant past, Shane had been described as the reluctant goalkeeper but, as former Kerry boss Jack O’Connor once told him, he’d have to stay between the posts unless a better goalkeeper comes along.
He is young enough – and certainly good enough – to make the number one jersey his own for the next decade but he has to remember that there isn’t a 4 after the 1 on his back.
Gavin White is Kerry’s lethal weapon
Gavin White just seems to get better with each passing game. The speed merchant Dr Crokes defender has had a storming National League campaign to date and he has been the standout performer in recent games, excelling against Meath in Killarney and playing brilliantly against Mayo on Sunday.
White had a difficult season last year when he was used as a wing forward and, although the experiment was worth trying, it didn’t really pay off and there was too much being asked of the player to try to defend from such an advanced position.
This year he is in his more familiar wing back role and what a difference it has made. Opponents don’t seem to be able to handle his sheer burst of pace and, as Pat Spillane observed on Sunday night, White is now doing for Kerry what lethal weapon Jack McCaffrey is doing for the Dubs.
It’s an ill wind that blows in Mayo
Given the storm warning and the fact that Kerry supporters travelling to Mayo for the game originally scheduled for Saturday evening would have to pass through two Red Alert counties, the decision not to call off the game earlier than mid-morning on Saturday was baffling and, quite frankly, rather stupid.
What will it take for some GAA officials to learn a little common sense when it comes to health and safety? Mayo GAA and Croke Park officials knew, well in advance, that there was a dangerous storm brewing and that very few areas were likely to escape a battering.
Yet they opted, in their wisdom, to wait until 10.30am on Saturday to make the call that should have been made 24 hours earlier. For people accustomed to having their dinner in the middle of the day, 10.30am is a bit late in the day to be calling anything off.
By the time they did so several Kerry supporters were already checking into hotels and guesthouses in Mayo and buses ferrying supporters to Castlebar were already well into their journey. Hardly good enough.
Options galore for Peter and co
Peter Keane and his selectors must be quite chuffed that they have far greater attacking options this season with the likes of Tony Brosnan, David Shaw, Gavin O’Brien and a fully fit Dara Moynihan all fighting for places alongside the more established starters like David Clifford Seanie O’Shea, Paul Geaney and Stephen O’Brien with Tommy Walsh a huge asset and James O’Donoghue still to return.
And what a season Micheál Burns is having in the NFL to date. His all-action style and remarkable stamina are a prized asset and his swashbuckling approach is exactly what is required from an effective number 10.
Burns has been one of the most consistent players with Dr Crokes in recent years and now he is reproducing his club form with the county team, kicking points for fun, setting up many attacked and, all the while, forming the first line of defence when Kerry are in retreat.
This looks very much like it will be his year.
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