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Kingdom cubs are talented, but final comes just too soon

Huge potential: David Clifford
Huge potential: David Clifford
Declan Bogue

By Declan Bogue

People can dismiss Kerry manager Peter Keane for being the walking embodiment of Yerra-talk - a local term meaning to have a complete lack of interest in any given topic - all they want, but there was a shrewdness to how he dealt with the media once Tyrone were put to the sword in the All-Ireland semi-final.

"I left the dressing room below and (goalkeeper) Shane Ryan was on the phone to Gerard Murphy of Vincent Murphy's Sports in Castleisland," he began, as members of the media wondered just where this anecdote might turn. "His biggest problem was if he would get two pairs of boots or three pairs of boots, because he'd have the boots worn out so much from kicking the ball out to Dublin."

Guffaws ensued, with the Kingdom boss getting up off the table only to issue a final riposte: "We'll come up in three weeks and we'll do our best."

In some ways, even mentioning Ryan's name is a high-risk policy. Although he had some time on the panel under Eamonn Fitzmaurice, Keane has made him his main man throughout the league and clearly is in thrall to his 76% kick-out retention.

Ryan is another of the Kerry young guns expected to do a veteran's job in this All-Ireland final.

Tom O'Sullivan is another who springs to mind. The 22-year-old has kept Cillian O'Sullivan, Jamie Brennan, James Carr and Paul Kerrigan scoreless, while he achieved the same against Tyrone's Peter Harte and blotted him out of all involvement in the semi-final.

Jason Foley struggled at times against Cathal McShane, although that may be attributed to the poor defensive shape Kerry persisted with in their first half against the Red Hands. Nevertheless, he will probably be on Dean Rock duty this Sunday.

Gavin Crowley, Killian Spillane, David Clifford and Gavin Whyte are all brilliant. Clifford may even end up one of the best to play the game.

But are they ready for Sunday? It's doubtful. This All-Ireland final against Dublin comes too soon for them.

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