Belfast Telegraph

O'Donoghue has some way to go before being labelled a great

By Declan Bogue

Credit must go to RTÉ pundit Martin McHugh for explaining himself over a remark he made on Sunday night that almost caused the Internet to melt. Well, in parts of Kerry, anyway.

Of course, as detailed in yesterday's Biting Back, it would have been preferable for him to explain himself at the time for his assessment of Colm Cooper as a 'Two-trick pony', but he got round to it as soon as he could.

"(James) O'Donoghue is fantastic and I was keen to make it clear how good he is on The Sunday Game," the Kilcar man said.

"Looking for a comparison, I brought up Cooper but made a mistake by using the phrase "Two-trick pony" to describe the Dr Crokes man. It's a clumsy phrase and one that doesn't stand up. But live television is unforgiving. You say something and it is out there."

All of that is a sensible response to some crass enough reaction. But it has thrown up something, and that is that the sheer excitement of O'Donoghue's play has meant we have not missed Cooper from this year's Championship as we thought we might.

That could also be down to the new role for Declan O'Sullivan as the 'quarter-back' of the Kerry attack. Perhaps when Cooper is fit again, they could coax another season or two out of O'Sullivan, and we could see him at the apex of an attack with O'Donoghue and the Gooch inside. Please excuse my drooling.

For a genius, the Gooch attracts some amount of trolling. Remember his abilities were questioned when Dr Crokes lost to Crossmaglen Rangers in the All-Ireland series?

O'Donoghue is everything a Kerry forward could need. For starters, he's a Killarney lad, correlating with the 'townies for the forwards' theory. His ability to kick with both feet is almost Fitzgerald-esque.

Cooper has put together a body of work as a Kerry forward that will live forever in the Kingdom.

Right now, O'Donoghue is good, but not on a par with the precociousness of Cooper arriving into Croke Park in his debut season of 2002, knifing the Galway and Cork defences at will.

In the world of Kerry GAA, he still has plenty to go before they place him along Mike Frank Russell on the pantheon, never mind Maurice Fitz, Mikey Sheehy or the Gooch.

Belfast Telegraph

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