GAA | 4 months ago
Tomás Ó Sé on the one man who destroyed Éamonn Fitzmaurice's genius tactic
What can you really do about this?

Éamonn Fitzmaurice couldn't have done much more.

He couldn't have set Kerry up any better on Saturday night for the visit of the Dubs. He couldn't have miraculously healed James O'Donoghue in time. He couldn't have gone on to the field of play and kicked over that free that Paul Geaney missed when the Kingdom had the old enemy by the pin of their collars.

Kerry did everything but beat Dublin in that frantic league clash in Tralee. They put it up to them physically and then some, their defenders limited them to four scores from play, and they dominated the midfield exchanges for large chunks of the game.

A lot of that was down to the fact that Fitzmaurice had them set up to perfection. Like they did last year when they had Dublin on the ropes in Croke Park, they targeted the source of their greatest strength - Stephen Cluxton. Kerry like to hammer the hammer and, for a spell, it looked like it might get them over the line.

But there's only so much limiting you can do of a man like Stephen Cluxton.

On The GAA Hour football show, Kerry legend Tomás Ó Sé pinpointed exactly where Dublin got back into the game.

"They were putting heat very high up. They were putting heat on Cluxton even though, to be fair to him, the kickouts were unbelievable," Ó Sé explained to SportsJOE on the latest GAA Hour.

"Kerry were trying to put heat on every single kickout yet he was still finding his man 30 or 40 yards out - it's unbelievable, the way he can do that."

Even though Fitzmaurice had them drilled to set up in record quick time, even though they were taking on the Dubs man on man, Cluxton couldn't be deterred. He always, eventually, finds a way through.

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"The ball was in mid-air and you could see Kerry lads setting up already. Now, the ball could've been going wide, it could've been going over the bar but it was the fact that they were so tuned in - I haven't seen that. To be fair to Fitzmaurice, he had them really, really tuned in. They were up for everything," Ó Sé said.

"You could see Geaney was leading it from the front. He was pointing to the corners, he was saying where to kick but it's so difficult. Cluxton doesn't mind going to the corners, he doesn't mind going 10 yards with it but he will go long as well so you have to have the short ones covered and you have to have the long ones covered.

"I said it before, he is possibly their most important player. Teams try to copy him but they can't do it as well as he does. I thought he was phenomenal on Saturday night - he also made a really good save from Geaney."

The Kingdom's iconic number five still reckons this is the greatest Dublin team of all time but he's adamant that they can be beaten - even if it's going to take something spectacular to do that.

"When you look at the Dubs, are there six or seven of that team that won't be playing in the championship? Probably. That's the reality of it," he said.

"Will Kerry be changing? I think they will possibly start one or two of the under-21s. If Gooch comes back, he'll be looked at. Donaghy will be an option again but the reality is either Gooch or Donaghy could walk now and nobody would think any less of them."

Listen to all of Tomás Ó Sé's interesting thoughts on Saturday's draw below (from 22:25). Or subscribe here on iTunes.

Pre-match eating, Hill 16 flag and weekend previews on The GAA Hour. Listen below or subscribe here on iTunes.


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Dublin GAA, Kerry GAA, The GAA Hour, Tomas O Sé