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26th Mar 2022

Kerry not holding back as they name strong team in hopes to relegate Tyrone

Lee Costello

Clifford is down to start.

Kerry have already qualified for the Division One League final, so the betting man would have put money on The Kingdom playing a weaker side this weekend against Tyrone.

At least that’s what the Red Hands were probably hoping for anyway, as they are in a serious relegation battle that means this game in Killarney is a must-win.

Granted, the Ulster side could stay up depending on other results and very complicated situations regarding scoring differences, but it’s pretty much in their hands going into this game.

Having not won at this ground since way back in 2003 – and having taken an absolute trashing there last season, leaking six goals in the process – things aren’t exactly in Tyrone’s favour.

As Kerry have nothing really to play for, this gave the current All-Ireland champions some hope, but Jack O’Connor seems keen to try and hammer the nail in their coffin.

After Brian Dooher and Feargal Logan mastered a terrific victory over the green-and-golds back in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final, the Kerry management obviously feels there could be a psychological advantage to sinking their opposition to Division Two.

David Clifford, Joe O’Connor, Shane Murphy, Paul Geaney and Micheál Burns are all down to start, although Sean O’Shea is still out with injury.

Clifford came off the bench last week and proved to be the difference in their win against Armagh, so he will be looking to continue that form.

Interestingly, this will be Joe O’Connor’s first start this season, and he has been named as captain following the county’s tradition of selecting a player from the club championship-winning team, which in this case, was Austin Stacks.

Now listen, you’re not just crowned the All-Ireland champions for nothing, and last season proved that nobody steps up to the big occasions better than Tyrone.

Time and time again, they went into games as the underdogs, only to find themselves come out on top and they know that they have the mentality, talent and fire power to get the win this weekend.

It’s been a relatively disappointing campaign for the champs so far, although a lot of that is put down to the fact that they returned from the team holiday and were thrust straight into the season, so are notably behind in terms of conditioning etc.

The league table doesn’t lie though, and it doesn’t make any excuses, so this is bound to be a stormer of a game.

If only it was on TV…

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