HomeFootballBryan Sheehan: Kerry don’t know where they stand

Bryan Sheehan: Kerry don’t know where they stand

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Sheehan puts defending All-Ireland champions Dublin at the top of the pile – “the Dubs are still the team to beat” – with Division 1 league winners Derry next best and Jack O’Connor’s Kerry back in third in his pecking order.

The five-time All-Ireland winner is adamant Kerry “have a bit of work to do” in terms of tightening up their defence and the All-Star forward is not convinced they will be road-tested come the business end.

O’Connor’s men beat Cork and Clare to land Munster honours before taking care of Monaghan with the minimum of fuss in round one of the All-Ireland series, with Meath up next on Sunday, but Sheehan doesn’t anticipate that these games will serve Kerry well.

“My first concern is that Cork put it up to Kerry and while Kerry need a bit of competition, Cork are Division 2 and Kerry are Division 1. I’d like to think that they would have had a bit more comfort in beating Cork but they didn’t,” Sheehan said at the Electric Ireland Minor Championship launch.

“What worried Kerry people was that for the first 15 minutes, Cork ran through Kerry and that’s the major concern for Kerry. Teams are beginning to score goals against Kerry and the year that Kerry won the All-Ireland, they were not conceding goals.

​“They need to try and sort that out. Clare ran through them, Monaghan had a couple of chances going through them as well. They had it down to a tee two years ago and they were not conceding goals.

“If you’re not conceding goals, you’re going to be hard to beat. If you’re leaking two goals at the back, life is going to be difficult for you so that’s one area that they need to be looking at.

“I don’t know are these games going to do them any favours down the line. No disrespect to the likes of Monaghan and Meath, but Kerry should be beating those teams. Realistically, if Kerry are going to win the All-Ireland then they should be beating Meath comfortably.

“My concern is that they’ll come out of this group and they will have played no proper opposition of a Division 1 standard since the league. They’ll come into a knockout series not knowing exactly where they stand and that’s a small bit of a concern.”

Sheehan, a selector with Tomás Ó Sé’s Kerry U-20 side that were beaten in the recent All-Ireland final, also feels that inter-county demands will take a toll on players at a younger age.

“You will get the odd freak of nature that can stay going, but I don’t think someone is going to play football at senior level from 19 or 20 years of age up until 32 years of age,” he said.

“There’s so much of a demand on inter-county now that I don’t think you’re going to see lads going into their mid 30s. A fella aged 32 trying to chase a fella that’s 24, it’s daunting.”

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