Aidan O’Mahony: It’s time for the GAA to splash out on two referees per game

Sean Cavanagh might want to button it too!


Saturday night was a mixed bag from Kerry really.

It started off very well and when they went 1-05 to 0-1 up you were wondering if Cork were going to test them at all. But then, it just totally swung.

It was great to see them outscore Cork in the final stages, when they were down to 14 men though.

Stephen O’Brien was colossal for Kerry. He nearly put the team on his back in the second half. He’s one of those forwards who is just a nightmare to mark.

Last year going into the Super 8s we learned nothing from trouncing Cork in the 2018 Munster Final, but this time around Kerry will go back to training knowing there are problems that need to be ironed out. There’s certainly a lot they have to work on.

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Kerry defence needs to lock teams down

It certainly was a worry to see Kerry opened up so easily.

They only conceded 13 scores, but every top team will set up their stall not to let in goals and Kerry allowed Cork three of them.  It’s a good learning experience for the Kingdom though, because it will open their eyes to the problem.

They definitely have to work on it and that goes for our forwards too.

You cannot leave your man go off on a run, even if you are in the full-forward line. The game has changed so much now that, as a forward, if your marker runs down the tunnel and out onto the road, then you have to go after him.

The modern game demands it. Peter Keane is a shrewd operator though, and he’ll sense that teams will try to run down the middle at Kerry now.

The Kerry forwards just need to work a bit harder out of possession.

Their movement and pace against Cork was fantastic, but it’s still a very young set of forwards – especially when you look at the likes of Sean O’Shea, David Clifford, Dara Moynihan and Diarmuid O’Connor.

The experience of the Munster final will stand to them, but in future they’ll need the kind of energy levels where they can defend as well.

‘Corkness’ is back

I’ve been saying all year that we needed to see that ‘Corkness’ back in Cork.

Analysts and pundits were saying ‘it’s great to see Cork back’, but that’s the least we should expect of Cork. They are supposed to be a top-tier team and they have to get back up there.

This can’t be a one-off performance from them just because they were written off by everyone.

Ruairi Deane is without doubt, Cork’s best player. I played against him in a challenge match for Rathmore when he was in Tralee IT and I liked what I saw.

There was a bit of ‘fire in the belly’ with him and the sight of a Kerry jersey in front of him makes him grow 10 feet tall.

It might be hard as a Kerry man to say this, but the Super 8s needs Cork in them too.

Two refs are a must now

I thought Paul Geaney’s red card was very harsh, but it was great to see Kerry perform after that. A lot of people were getting worried when Paul was sent off, because Cork were coming right into the game.

The Kerry lads really stood up when they needed to. Fans were giving out about the referee, and goodness knows I’ve had enough run-ins with them, but they seem to leave a lot of frees go nowadays.

The advantage is all over the shop too. The pace of the game is gone too high for one ref on the pitch. A ball can be kicked 60 yards and they end up a mile behind the play.

The day has come to bring in two referees into our game.

Munster GAA and the GAA in general, have plenty of money in the coffers to do it. Why not splash out on it! It’s very simple, what would be the issue with having a second ref on the pitch?

Have them pick up the play from either 65 into the goals. It’s a no-brainer for me.

Silly Sean Cavanagh

I can’t believe what Sean Cavanagh said on The Sunday Game about Kerry. Tyrone haven’t set the Championship alight either have they?

Kerry were in a National League final on merit. I reckon Sean might be looking for a few headlines putting out a quote like that .

Kerry won’t be reading too much into that either. Even if Kerry were a bit poor against Cork, they are still winning. It’s an utter throw-away comment from Sean.

I wouldn’t give it a second thought anyway, it was a bit silly. Whatever province you put Kerry in, they’d get to the final.

Clifford worth every penny to see him

In the first half, David Clifford kept a ball from going out over the line and fooled the defender by flicking the ball over his head. It was a ridiculous bit of skill.

Clifford is worth the entry fee to a match alone.

I spoke to him in the week leading up to the game and he’s a very level-headed guy. I love that about him and he just lives to play football. Like all great players, he sees things quicker than the rest.

In the second half against Cork, he was just head-and-shoulders above everyone else.

He’s probably the biggest underage star Kerry ever had and it’s brilliant to see that he still wants to be coached. David is the kind of player that comes along once in a lifetime.

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What do you think?