The gem in Kerry camp who will have learned loads from the draw 10 months ago

The gem in Kerry camp who will have learned loads from the draw

In a replay, it comes down to a game of reactions.

Who learned the most from the drawn game? Who adapts the best to what they had seen? A brilliant stat did the rounds this week and it summed up the value of change on the second day out.

Michael Fitzsimons, Dublin. John Power, Kilkenny.  Shane O'Donnell, Clare. Walter Walsh, Kilkenny.

What do these four men have in common?

Well, first of all, each of these four men have been involved in All-Ireland finals this decade that have gone to a replay. None of them had started the drawn game, but each of them won man-of-the-match in the replay.

Only four All-Ireland finals have gone to replays this decade. Each of them has been decided by a player who wasn't chosen to start the first day out.

So, who could it be? Eoin Murchan, Cian O'Sullivan or even Diarmuid Connolly for Dublin. Killian Spillane certainly looks like a man who could make a difference for Kerry, as does Tommy Walsh.

Speaking from experience on The GAA Hour Football Show, Mayo footballer Chris Barrett, having worked under him for six years, reckons a certain Kerry coach could also have a huge bearing on the replay.

Donie Buckley was Mayo coach between 2012 and 2018


Donie Buckley, that Castleisland Desmonds club man and renowned coach. He was one of Peter Keane's first recruits this year and his imprint on this Kerry team has been clear.

"Look at the coaching side, I think it's one of the most important things in a replay. Your players are one thing, but it's how the coaching sides adapt and react to what happened in the first game. I know in the Kerry dressing room, Donie Buckley is going to be there and he's going to have a huge say in how they set up, how they change. He'll be analysing the game within an inch of its life," said Barrett on the GAA Hour's All-Ireland football final preview show.

"That's his reputation that he's good with defenders but I think that's nearly a false (representation.) He's an all-round coach/student of the game. In terms of analysing the opposition and picking out where you can hurt them, he's very good at that as well. People think, Donie Buckley - coach, he's on the pitch, he's doing the drills but he has a great football mind and he's a huge asset to Kerry, especially in a replay situation where you have to think outside the box. I think he'll have a huge part to play in trying to pull Dublin out of their comfort zone..."

Despite the marginal gains Buckley will bring, Barrett still reckons the Dubs will shade it on Saturday night.

"I think Kerry will have got that belief and confidence (from the last day,) that once you push up on them and match them, that they can be beaten, that they're just another team, but I do think the 14 men has been lost here. The fact that Dublin drew a game that they had 14 men for 40 minutes in. I think Dublin will have too much. If I was to call it, I would say a four/five point game with Dublin leading by one or two heading into the last five minutes, and then hitting Kerry on the break.

You can watch The GAA Hour's All-Ireland final preview show here.