Let’s address the elephant in the room, referee David Gough. In my last column, I felt he shouldn’t have been the choice for the final he was working in Dublin and he lives there, so that would put a lot of pressure on him.
I suppose the media ran with a story that suited themselves and they got a good week out of it.
Now that he’s in charge of the All-Ireland final, I’ve no problem with that. The players and the management involved in the game won’t even look at it, to be honest.
They’ve enough to concentrate on now for the next couple of weeks, with the talk about the five-in-a-row and stuff like that. Gough is officiating his first All-Ireland final and it’s no different to a player starting his first final, you have to say, “best of luck” to him.
Biggest game since Offaly v Kerry in 1982
Is there extra pressure on him because of all the coverage? I doubt it. There’s always going to be pressure going into an All-Ireland final no matter who you are.
This is probably the biggest game there’s been since the Offaly-Kerry game in 1982. I suppose the funny thing about it is, instead of Kerry going for the five-in-a-row they’re trying to stop the five-in-a-row.
Kerry were not trying to create a media witch-hunt to put pressure on Gough.
It was just me giving my thoughts. I think former manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice gave his opinion as well. It wasn’t that we’re on WhatsApp saying, ‘Jesus I’ll put something up now and you put something up later’.
There was a big song and dance that we shouldn’t have said what we said – but if I’ve an opinion on something, I’ll give it.
When I was playing football I never spoke to the media and I was probably a pain in the ass to deal with. That was just the way I was.
Now, I can give my opinion on something, thankfully.
But, there’s no extra pressure from us on David Gough. The pressure is that Dublin are going for the five-in-a-row and Kerry are trying to stop the five-in-a-row, so there might be a bit of pressure on him for that reason.
There’s no Kerry mafia!
I keep hearing this thing about a Kerry mafia. There’s no mafia!
It’s just lads giving their opinion on the game. Like it’s no different to Dublin lads giving their opinion on the final as well. That’s the beauty about this game, there’s so much riding on it.
The five-in-a-row is massive and that’s going to be a talking point for the next two weeks.
For our lads down in Kerry, there’s no pressure on them.
I think a lot of people aren’t giving them a chance, so it’s the ideal game.
It’s like the roles reversed. They’ve gone from the team that was trying to do the five-in-a-row, to the team that are trying to stop the five-in-a-row. For our young lads, it’s a great position to be in.
No need to brush up on sweepers
I don’t believe Kerry will play with a sweeper and I don’t think they can afford too.
If you are playing a sweeper then you are thinking, ‘What Dublin player do I leave free?’ There aren’t too many you’d be happy to leave alone.
No doubt Jim Gavin would try to leave James McCarthy or Jack McCaffrey free – and they are going to hurt you.
You need to go man-for-man against Dublin.
Kerry have the legs to do that and go after them. Kerry need to go and play their own game, let’s go hammer and tongs at them!
That’s the mentality Kerry should go in with.
Keep the goals out
If you don’t concede goals against the Dubs, then you’ll keep yourself in the game. It showed the last day against Mayo in those 12 minutes after half time, Dublin were absolutely ruthless.
Whatever chance you have against them, if they don’t score goals you’ll stay in the game.
The flip-side is that when you’re creating chances you have to take them.
It was no different to the quarter-final in 2009. No one gave us a chance against Dublin, we’d come through the back door. But at the start, we got a goal chance and we took it. We beat them by 17 points that day.
Dublin changed their style and system after that and it didn’t happen again. But, that’s what gives Kerry a great chance on Sunday week.
We have the players upfront that can hurt Dublin if they get the ball.
* All odds correct at time of posting.