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07th Feb 2017

“He’s a proper Kerry player” – have the Kingdom found the missing jigsaw piece?

Highest possible praise piled on new forward

Conan Doherty

“What a full forward line.”

Is it getting way ahead of ourselves to claim that Kerry have found a modern day version of Cooper, Donaghy and Mike Frank Russell?

One game into the league, it’s probably much too premature but, f**k it, Éamonn Fitzmaurice’s front three has everything.

James O’Donoghue and Paul Geaney are leading the line for the Kingdom from the very off this season and that pair alone have it all from aerial threats, to scary footwork, composure, arrogance, and conviction.

A full campaign out of those two and Kerry will be a different animal in 2017.

Then… then you add in Jack Savage.

Young, yes. Inexperienced, yes. Talented? Jesus Christ, yes.

One game and three points later and the Kerins O’Rahilly’s attacker has excited not just the south west of Ireland, but just about every other county outside the top bracket who want to believe that the juggernaut can at least be diverted if not stopped.

Maybe Kerry are building just that.

Lively, dangerous, and elusive, Jack Savage is already proving that he can cut it with the big boys and, playing alongside Geaney and O’Donoghue – the three compliment each other perfectly.

On SportsJOE’s GAA Hour podcast, former Meath full forward Cian Ward couldn’t believe what he was seeing in Letterkenny.

“Kerry were super, the way they moved the ball. Their full forward line were seriously good,” he said.

“Jack Savage was a very good minor, he played centre half forward and he was very impressive.

“At one stage, Kerry were playing around with the ball outside the Donegal 45′ and Jack Savage took the ball on. You see a young guy giving the ball to one of the more experienced players – then they immediately give him the ball back.

“Now, David Moran is a super footballer. If he’s in that situation saying, ‘hell yeah, give it to Jack’ – that will show you how good his team mates think he is.

“You often see scenarios where young guys lay the ball off and, instead of giving it back to him, the midfielder will just turn and do his own thing – and you’d expect that when you have a guy here who’s making his league debut.

“To me, it’s just a sign that his own team mates have serious respect for his ability. His performance backed it up.”

Then Colm Parkinson continued the love-in for Kerry’s new attack as Savage took all the plaudits from The GAA Hour panel.

“He’s a proper Kerry player, Jack Savage. He has beautiful balance, he looks up, he’s got both feet – I just knew the minute I saw him that this lad is a really, really good player,” Wooly said.

“They’re all on the same wavelength, O’Donoghue, Geaney, and Savage because they’re all natural, they’re all intelligent. They started with three in there but then they dropped – you saw O’Donoghue drifting and leaving two in there and then you saw Savage drifting and they’re linking up beautifully.

“When they get it out the field, you know they’re not going to just lay it off. They’re turning and they’re looking for a tasty ball and they’re feeding off each other.”

Maybe Kerry will finally find a way to get back on top of Dublin once more. If they do though, they’ll just be doing it the Kerry way. That’s what has gotten them to where they are. That’s what has gotten them another gem like Jack Savage.

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