Ahead of the All-Ireland final replay, we examine the possible match-ups which could prove crucial to decide Sam Maguire’s winter resting place.
Tom O’Sullivan vs Con O’Callaghan
O’Sullivan has nullified some of the country’s top attackers this summer, and looks to be well on his way to an All-Star award.
Coming into the drawn game, many felt O’Callaghan was a shoo-in for Footballer of the Year, and it would take something special to limit his influence on the game. To that end, the Cuala man’s return of just 0-1 will have been viewed as a success from a Kerry perspective.
If O’Sullivan can do a job on O’Callaghan, Kerry will feel they have a real chance.
Jack Barry vs Brian Fenton
Touted before the drawn game as the man best equipped to mark Brian Fenton, Barry was brought into the starting team as a late addition.
The Na Gaeil club man was key to the Kingdom getting the better of the midfield battle in the drawn game, and that was a foundation for their second-half comeback.
Between Barry and David Moran, Kerry came out on top in that particular battle, and reigning Footballer of the Year Fenton will be gunning to set the record straight on Saturday.
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Michael Fitzsimons vs David Clifford
Following the dismissal of Jonny Cooper two weeks ago, Jim Gavin turned to Fitzsimons to marshal Clifford. For the most part, he was thoroughly effective.
Clifford did have some moments of individual brilliance, but on the whole the Cuala man will have been happy with how he dealt with the rampant Fossa star. He will likely start on the 2018 Young Footballer of the Year.
Stephen O’Brien vs Jack McCaffrey
After the drawn game, Peter Keane will appreciate the importance of keeping tabs on Jack McCaffrey. Granted, the sheer pace of the Clontarf man will be difficult to counter, as was seen in his goal in the first-half.
But McCaffrey found space in the Dublin half all too frequently, and he did real damage, finishing with a total of 1-3.
Stephen O’Brien could be the man tasked with looking after the 2015 Footballer of the Year, and giving McCaffrey defensive headaches of his own.
Tadhg Morley vs Paul Mannion
Much their job on Con O’Callaghan, Kerry will be looking for more of the same to subdue Paul Mannion.
The Kilmacud Crokes star kicked 19 points in his previous five games coming into the final, but Kerry managed to restrain him.
Mannion will be gunning to prove a point, and judging by his point-taking exhibition in the semi-final win over Mayo, he can score from anywhere.