A drab gaelic football Championship will (hopefully) fire into life this Sunday, when a near-capacity Croke Park crowd witness one of the best All-Ireland quarterfinal doubleheaders in recent memory. First up, Armagh v Galway. Then a rematch of the Division One final, Kerry v Mayo.
There has been a lot of oxygen expended in the past few days regarding how Mayo will quiet David Clifford. In his last Croke Park outing, Clifford blitzed the Mayo defense for 1-6 and made Padraig O'Hora look silly at times. Kerry won by 15 points in the end.
One of the fascinating subplots of Kerry v Mayo is how James Horan will seek to neutralise Clifford this time, knowing how lethal the Kerry forward can be.
Kerry v Mayo: the Clifford conundrum
When speaking on the always-interesting Mayo News Football podcast, Kevin McStay made the case for sticking Footballer of the Year contender Lee Keegan on the Fossa phenom, at the expense of the occasional bombing-forward that makes the Westpost man so dangerous and unique.
Here's how he puts it:
"I think Keegan is probably going to have to go on Clifford. And someone asked me today, a friend from Ballina, and we were just chatting, and he said, 'but arragh we'd lose Keegan's bounce and what he means to us in attack. Well if you don't match David Clifford, he's going to get 0-5 from play.' Lee Keegan isn't going to get 0-5 from play no matter how much attacking he's doing. We have to make hard decisions on who it is who's going to - to use their own term - 'hammer the hammer' We have to go after their key threats."
McStay also sang the praises of Seanie O'Shea and suggested that Paddy Durcan will mark him, with Padraig O'Hora playing at six.
Interestingly, Tomas Ó Sé was doing a Twitter Q&A on Thursday night and answering questions about Kerry v Mayo. He said he'd use Oisín Mullen or possibly O'Hora on Clifford.
I’d not throw Keegan on him. Mullen/ O Hora again? They will need a covering man though. Mayo are always brave. Always man on man everywhere. Is that too risky is the question?🤷🏻♂️
— Tomás Ó Sé (@tomas5ky) June 23, 2022
Kerry v Mayo: teams named for quarterfinal
James Horan and Jack O'Connor named their respective teams this evening and there was plenty of intrigue. David Clifford was named to start at full-forward for Kerry, despite being the subject of endless rumour this week about his fitness. However Jack Barry and Adrian Spillane are outside the Kerry matchday 26. David Moran starts in the midfield.
— Kerry GAA (@Kerry_Official) June 24, 2022
James Horan's Mayo 'starting' XV was released to the media with no news of who is on the bench. Padraig O'Hora was not among the XV, but we can only assume he'll be starting.
Mayo Senior manager James Horan has named his team for Sunday's All-Ireland Quarter Final clash with Kerry in Croke Park.
See Details Below 🔽https://t.co/EsqGiXiTZy#mayogaa #GAA @Elverys @PortwestIreland pic.twitter.com/mJEvD5Huld
— Mayo GAA (@MayoGAA) June 24, 2022
Whether he'll be picking up David Clifford again remains to be seen. Kerry v Mayo is Sunday afternoon at 4pm.