Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Kingdom hot favourites to win again

Familiarity, far from breeding contempt, will only engender further respect when Kerry and Limerick clash for the second time in the current championship campaign at Croke Park tomorrow.

It was in the semi-final of the Munster championship that the Kingdom overcame the Shannonsiders by 1-26 to 3-9 and although Jack O'Connor's side will be raging hot favourites again, they are taking nothing for granted.

Limerick have arrived in the quarter-finals following the controversy that surrounded their win in the qualifiers over Wexford.

Ian Ryan will again be a key figure in the Limerick attack but the Kerry defence is expected to be watertight after the frustration manager O'Connor expressed when three goals were conceded in the earlier meeting with Limerick.

Kerry have shown themselves to be as focussed as ever and their first-half show in the Munster final against Cork was breathtaking.

Limerick, who have key players in Stephen Lavin, Seanie Buckley and Johnny McCarthy, may have beaten Offaly and Wexford but they know that confronting Kerry at this stage is a mammoth task.

Kerry skipper Colm Cooper, Kieran Donaghy, Declan O'Sullivan and Bryan Sheehan are all important cogs in a well-oiled machine that could turn the heat up considerably tomorrow.

On current form, Kerry should breeze into the semi-finals and there they could meet neighbours Cork - another side whom they have already met on not once but two occasions to date this year.

Kerry: B Kealy; K Young, M Ó Sé, T O'Sullivan; T Ó Sé, E Brosnan, A O'Mahoney; A Maher, B Sheehan; P Galvin, Declan O'Sullivan, D Walsh; C Cooper, K Donaghy, Darran O'Sullivan.

* THIS year's International Rules Series could yet be scrapped as an escalating pay row between Australian Rules players and their bosses threatens its existence.

A boycott of the international series is one of the weapons that AFL players are now reportedly considering in their battle to break a deadlock in pay negotiations.

Ireland are due to play Australia in Melbourne on October 28 and the second test is fixed for on November 4.

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