Will Dublin Have A Better Answer For Tommy Walsh On Saturday?
Tommy Walsh's career has enjoyed a stunning rebirth over the last month. Changing the All-Ireland semi-final and final from the bench, the Kerry full-forward has been the talk of the country since he caused chaos in a weakened Dublin full-back line.
Should he start the replay and how will Dublin adapt have been the main questions ahead of the the counties going at it again on Saturday evening.
Walsh's former teammate Marc Ó Sé is convinced Dublin will respond better to the threat of Walsh this weekend, and won't be fooled into dropping James McCarthy back to pick him up again.
Speaking as part of a brilliant football panel at Balls.ie's Clubhouse Live event with Sports Direct at the Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone last Friday, Ó Sé had been advocating for Walsh for start the first game, but now thinks that Dublin may have an answer for the Kerins O'Rahilly's man.
You mentioned Tommy Walsh. I said this before the game. I think they should have started him, taken him off, brought him back on again, like Tyrone did with Canavan, and they all seem to be saying it now.
But look, you look at the Kerry full-forward line, you look at Geaney, you look at Clifford, you're looking at the inside line, and you're saying, 'you know what, we can handle these fellas,' but with Tommy, it's a different type of a man you're handling.
I still think Dublin will have the answer for him. Bringing back James McCarthy, for me, I was delighted when I saw James McCarthy being moved back. Liam mentioned the physicality of Dublin. He's one of their go-to guys. All of a sudden now, there's a different scenario, he's back in the full-back line, and Kerry were still able to put good ball in because David Moran was working very well out in the middle of the field, and Kerry were still able to get good ball into Tommy Walsh.
The next day I don't think James McCarthy will go back. I think it might be Philly. I think if Philly's fit, I think he's going to come in. But I certainly think that James McCarthy is going to stay out the field the next day, so maybe Tommy mightn't have the same influence if that's the case.
Also on the panel, Mayo legend Liam McHale suggested it might not be as easy to defend Walsh with finishers such as Clifford and Geaney in such close proximity, especially given Kerry's style of kickpassing.
There's no team in the country that kick passes the ball, distance-wise, better than the Kerry boys. And when Tommy's on the edge of the square, with the two finishers floating around him, Moran and O'Shea can kick in those diagonal balls, and they're nearly impossible to defend.
So when Tommy wins that, it's a high percentage point or a goal chance, and one or two goals again the next day, and that could be the winning of the game.
There are other match-ups too that Dublin will have to fix if they are to get over the line, according for former Dublin midfielder Eamon Fennell.
As a team, Kerry got their match-ups right. Going into it now, I think they'll have a different person on Clifford. I don't know why Jonny (Cooper) was on him in the first place. Jonny's a man that can win a ball out in front, he's never one to stand under a high ball and fight with Clifford, it was just ridiculous. He's better off marking Geaney where he can get out in front. Mick Fitz can stand under the ball and fight for it.
And then I think out the pitch, where Dublin suffered on the kick outs. If you think back to the 2013 and 2015 All-Ireland final, or even those two years, Dublin's best two ball winners were Paul Flynn and Diarmuid Connolly. Why Diarmuid wasn't brought on to win kick outs was beyond me.
You can hear the entire discussion between the three lads on the Balls.ie podcast feed tomorrow and keep an eye out for footage of a great night at the Hodson Bay over the coming days.
It was all to celebrate the launch of the Sports Direct Clubhouse on Balls.ie, your home from grassroots GAA throughout the club season. On the night, we celebrated St. Dominic's GAA club in Roscommon, one of the many clubs Sports Direct partner in their proud support of grassroots GAA. We also had a thoroughly enjoyable and raucous hurling chat with Anthony Daly and Brendan Cummins, which you can hear below.