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03 Aug

The Joe Show – The Kingdom Cometh

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Posted by Joe Sheridan in The Joe Show | Aug 2012

It goes without saying that I’m very disappointed to be following up last week’s article off the back of a second defeat in six days. Unfortunately, you just can’t make as many mistakes as we made in the last few games, going behind by ten points in two games tells its own story. A lead like that is obviously hard to try and pull back, even more so having had to try and do it in the Leinster final and to find yourself in the same position six days later is tough to take.

It’s amazing how you can go from the high of preparing for a Leinster final and then six days later find yourself out of the Championship. It’s a bit of a reality check to be honest, but with the Club Championship coming fast on the horizon you don’t have too much time to dwell on it. For me, it’s always important to try and put setbacks like this out of your head and move on to the next challenge, if you think about these things too much it can really get to you so I try not to – it’s just the way I am.

This week I’ll be heading to the Galway Races for a couple of days just to chill out and recharge the batteries. After the weekend the plan will be to get back in with the club and look forward to the group stage of the Championship which kicks off on Saturday week when we take on Oldcastle, before a game against Rathkenny a week later. Win those two games and you’re into a County Quarter Final, and having won it out in 2007 & 2009 we’re confident of putting in a good push again this year.

This Weekend’s Action

Mayo vs Down

There are some great games in store at Croke Park this weekend, kicking off with Mayo against Down on Saturday. This is a funny one to call because Down’s form has been up and down all year. They had a decent league but have looked shaky since, especially against Monaghan in the Ulster semi-final, before they were blown out of the water by Donegal in the final, so it’s hard to know what sort of team they are at the minute.

Mayo were going well until they had a bit of a mess in the camp with the Conor Mortimer situation. I actually thought Sligo would beat them in the Connacht final after what had gone on, and it definitely didn’t help them, but they did well on the day. To come back the way they did showed character and in the second half especially they looked the better team and probably could have won by more in the end.

Overall I’d expect Mayo to win this one, I think defensively Down are suspect and Mayo’s forwards with the likes of Andy Moran in there could bang in a few goals. I think they’ll probably see it out by a couple of points.

Dublin vs Laois

I talked a bit about momentum last week looking ahead to our game against Laois and how it can be a big plus in the Qualifiers, but that really goes out the window once you get to this stage. The Quarter finals are a different animal, and for a Laois team coming up against the All Ireland Champions momentum isn’t going to be something that will make the difference. In fairness to Laois I have to say they’re very well coached, and against us they had a good game plan, stuck to it well and were very well organised.

Will they beat Dublin? I don’t really see it in all honesty. Laois will be confident after beating ourselves and will go into the game with belief, but Dublin seem to get better as the year goes on, and man for man their panel is very strong. They haven’t really been challenged so far except maybe for twenty minutes against ourselves, and this could be a week where they could cut loose and put in a devastating performance.

Cork vs Kildare

Sunday is an even better day of matches, firstly with Cork against Kildare. Cork will probably win that one. Kildare are after a couple of tough games and haven’t come back with great performances since losing to us. They were lucky enough against Limerick, although once it went to extra time there was only one winner, but those couple of tough games can take their toll.

Cork haven’t had as many tough games, and the worry about being undercooked won’t be an issue for a squad that strong. At the Quarter final stage the best teams tend to come out on top; and any team that would be using that as an excuse probably weren’t good enough anyway.

Kildare have had a hard couple of weeks and Cork’s stronger squad will be good enough to see them move on with three or four points to spare.

Donegal vs Kerry

The biggest game of the weekend is obviously Donegal versus Kerry. After getting the nicer side of the draw Dublin were made favourites by the bookies, but in my eyes I still can’t look past Kerry as favourites.

Donegal have moved on their style of play from last year where they were very defensive. A lot of people didn’t like their style of play and I was one of them. I didn’t like the way they played and I didn’t like the direction they were bringing Gaelic Football, but this year they’ve evolved. They’ve defended as a team and attacked as a team while putting up big scores. But attacking from deep with the likes of Frank McGlynn and Karl Lacey pushing up the field, they look more vulnerable at the back than they did last year. There are chances to get at them when their attacks break down by counter attacking and pushing up the pitch as quickly as possible. The speed of Kerry’s attack with their ability to move the ball by foot and counter quickly will cause Donegal problems.

The only worry I’d have worry about Kerry is the full back line – Aidan O’Mahony is not a natural full back, Shane Enright is unproven, and the likes of Murphy and McBrearty will be big handfuls for them. Donegal will put it up to them, they’ll have a lot of belief and will definitely be up for it, but when you play Kerry in Croke Park no matter who you are you’re going to have doubts about yourself and with these niggles creeping in you have to ask yourself are this Donegal team really good enough to beat Kerry in Croke Park? Not for my money.

I’ve been listening to a lot of people for the last couple of months going on that Kerry are finished, but you write Kerry off at your peril. There’s been a lot of talk that they don’t have the legs after Dublin came back in the All Ireland last year, but realistically it was a game they thought they had won and they took their foot off the gas. They should probably have won it by five or six points but instead we end up hearing about too many miles on the clock.

You also have this statement that Joe Brolly came out with that Gooch is a choker. Joe likes to make his claims but there’s no stat in the world that would prove Gooch has been anything other than the most consistent footballer on any pitch in the Championship for the last nine or ten years (by swanseen). He is without a doubt one of the best footballers to ever play football, and that sort of thing will only drive them on even harder.

At the end of the day, they are the best footballers in the country and with Bryan Sheehan getting back up to speed after his injury, Darren O’Sullivan to come back in and Kieran Donaghy looking ready to explode at any minute I fully expect the Kingdom to go on and win the All Ireland.

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