'Complete player' O'Connor has Gooch and the whole of Kerry waxing lyrical 10 months ago

'Complete player' O'Connor has Gooch and the whole of Kerry waxing lyrical

And that ladies and gentlemen, is why Peter Keane saw fit to start Diarmuid O'Connor in this year's All-Ireland final replay.

The Kerry club quarter finals and all eyes are on Austin Stack Park in Tralee. The county weren't far off an All-Ireland this year and the hope down in these parts is that they can kick on from the experience.

To do that, they'll need their young players to grow into themselves, to fulfil their potential. And it's in these club games where players come of age.

Exhibit Diarmuid O'Connor.

The young St Brendan's star is going the right way about it. He had a promising first season for Kerry this year, starting in a number of league games and showing well in the All-Ireland final when he was bolted in from the blue.

The mere fact that Peter Keane had that trust in a player who could still have been playing under-20 showed just what he'd been doing in the training ground all year, and he brought that to Tralee on Saturday night.

In a game that never really caught fire, the gifted 20-year-old was a shining light.

Along with his midfield partner and fellow county player Jack Barry, O'Connor bossed the game with his perfect blend of guile, skill and composure.

The area side were down by four at half-time but it was through O'Connor's goal and his all-round leadership that they kicked on when it mattered the most.

He kicked a goal and a gorgeous point in that second half, but it was all-round dominance and ability to continually pop up where the ball is that most impressed. His late interception when Legion were pushing hard showed the bravery of the man too.

Afterwards, Kerry legend Colm Cooper summed up the high regard this fella is held in down in Kerry, waxing lyrical over his balance and confidence.

"He's been a great underage for Kilkenny and he certainly fulfilled his potential out there," said Cooper on RTÉ.

"This guy is being touted as a big player for Kerry in the next ten years and you can see why. Just beautiful balance, he can kick a point, he can see a pass, just drifts around the place. He's a complete player.

"What I loved about this is that he never thought about going for a point here, goal was always on his mind.

"He can score, he can catch kickouts, he can do everything and he's certainly going to be a big player for Kerry in the future.