Welcome back, Kerry 8 months ago

Welcome back, Kerry

Football at its best.

Three games into the new season and Peter Keane is beginning to show what he's about.

Kerry are now three for three in the national football league and they're doing it in such convincing fashion.

Last year's two All-Ireland finalists have come to the Kingdom in the last three weeks and they've both been put away by the most successful county in football - who seem to have remembered that they are the most successful county in football - and they've beaten them in different ways.

Tyrone arrived down for the season opener and were restricted to seven points, two from play over 70 minutes of football, as Kerry fought fire with fire and refused to allow the Ulster men to counter attack them.

Meanwhile, they went up north last week, kept it tight, kept it tough and got out of Cavan with another two points.

But that doesn't wash with Dublin. To beat Dublin, you have to hurt them and, to do that, you have to attack them. So Kerry did.

In a rip-roaring game in Tralee, the mighty green and gold restored the idea that it's Kerry who are the dominant force in football. In the year that Dublin are on the hunt for history, to become the first team to ever clinch five senior football All-Irelands in succession, Kerry sent those hunters a stark reminder that they too are being hunted.

And they're being hunted by the deadliest in the business under the stewardship of a manager who's already showing signs that he's had a peek at the map.

Perhaps Peter Keane doesn't need to prove himself to anyone after guiding the Kingdom's minors to three All-Ireland titles in a row - to make it a total of five - but this win over Dublin really showed that he has an understanding of how to win games, every type of game.

From the moment Jack Sherwood scaled the length of the pitch to ping over off the outside of his boot with the number 3 on the back of his jersey, you knew that Kerry weren't here to limit Dublin. The best form of defence was going to be attack - to push the Dubs towards their own goals, to panic them, to overrun them and tire them, and Kerry executed to perfection with two superb goals from O'Callaghan - albeit a deflection - and Mannion keeping the champions in touch.

They were manic in defence, Paul Murphy at one point nailing Jonny Cooper on the 45' like any trademark 6 should; and every time the hosts turned the ball over - they did it more times than Jim Gavin would even have nightmares about - they understood completely the absolute necessity to move that thing to the other side of the pitch as quickly as possible.

At one point, Paul Murphy again overturned possession and he burrowed out on his knees to start an attack and, within 15 seconds, Kerry were at the other side of the field striking over after eight successive and incisive hand passes cut Dublin open to show that the problem was never with the actual hand pass, but the intent of the man on the ball. Here, there were players flying off each other's shoulders, bursting through tackles and trying honestly to get to the posts and the hand pass was the best and quickest way to do that at that point.

But both teams were being stretched with aggressive runners, with pin-point kick passing and, in Dublin's case, with high balls raining down on top of their six-yard box. Kerry drew their only goal of the game with a good, old-fashioned 'let the fucking thing in' hoof into the area that wasn't dealt with and rebounded home by Stephen O'Brien and they were getting such joy out of that method that they unleashed Tommy Walsh at half time.

As it was, it still required bottle to see it home. You could be hammering Dublin for 65 minutes and still lose handsomely and, naturally, they fought their way back from five points down for a second time and drew level in the 72nd minute when Cormac Costello curled over a delightful free under serious pressure.

So Kerry would have to come out again and find a winner - you don't get handed anything against Dublin and that's the problem that most people encounter. You have to have the balls to go and take it and perhaps it would only be Kerry who'd have such sizeable balls to go and push Peter Crowley right through on Evan Comerford in the 75th minute to take a hand pass off David Moran and fist over the bar. Only Kerry would have the nerve to throw that caution to the wind and, because of that, only Kerry could've won this game.

Hungry, relentless, adventurous and ballsy. Add that to a touch of classic class and it's almost like you're watching Kerry again.

But don't call it a comeback - this is Kerry, for Christ's sake.