Kerry to face acid test against Waterford

Kerry to face acid test against Waterford


Munster Semi Final Ladies Football Championship Kerry
v Waterford

Kerry face an acid test next Sunday at Blennerville at
2 p.m as they bid for a spot in the Munster final. Up
to a fortnight ago Kerry would’ve been warm favourites
for this match. Having impressed throughout the league
which including an opening day win against the Deices
back in Feburary, Robbie Griffin’s side looked well poised
to reach their first League decider since 2003 when trailing
Galway 0-6 to 0-5 at half time in the semi-final in Tuam.
That Kerry failed to go on and win that match with the
wind at their backs will surely have put some doubt in
the players mind about their capabilities to make a break
through at National level in the year ahead. Sarah O’Connor
was surprisingly lethargic in that game but the news in
the past few days that Sarah was stepping down from the
panel due to ill health put her performance on that occasion
in some perspective. The Southern Gaels player will be
out of action for a few weeks and this will come as a
huge setback to the Kingdom ladies. The current all-star
and Kerry captain O’Connor was very much to the fore in
all of Kerry’s league ties and her silken skills will
be sorely missed as she has the ability to thread the
neatest of inside passes to her full forward line.

Several of Kerry’s league goals could be pin pointed to
O’Connor presence and the Portmagee lady netted a double
in the quarter-final win away in Monaghan. How Kerry cope
without their captain on Sunday will be crucial to the
outcome as they will miss her industry and bustling runs.
Debra Murphy is another casualty as the Legion player
went off injured against Cork in Kerry’s Munster minors
loss at home to the rebels. The corner forward often profited
from openings that O’Connor along with Geraldine O’Shea
and Kacey O’Driscoll made for her and the Legion starlet
had the knack of being in the right place at the right
time. Further hampering the homeside’s efforts is the
news that Catherine Sexton is also set to miss the game
with a broken finger. Sexton had just made her way back
from injury to her AC joint and this latest injury for
the Abbeydorney lady is just plain bad luck.

Kerry had a blow out at the weekend with a challenge game
against Tipperary and the resolve of the panel will be
put further to the test with Cassandra Buckley going over
on her ankle. The Dr Crokes player now looks a serious
doubt for Sunday’s match. All in all, it’s not the ideal
run-in to a game where the result will have far reaching
implications for the remainder of Kerry’s Munster and
All Ireland campaign (seeding for the All Ireland series
pool games will be decided on Provincial results). There
is a second chance on offer to the losers of this weekend’s
game as Cork await Sunday’s losers. Neither County will
relish the prospect of facing the All Ireland champions
Cork who will be hurting after losing their proud 32 game
winning streak in the other National league semi-final
against eventually winners Mayo.

Waterford were not at full strength for their 4-15 to
3-7 reversal against Kerry a few short weeks back at Keirns
O Rahilly’s and it must be remembered that last year they
ended Kerry’s Munster prospects with a two point win at
home in Dungarvan. Linda Wall and All-star Mary O Donnell
will carry the fight to the home side and all the pressure
will be on Kerry to produce the goods at home. Kerry will
most likely introduce Edel Murphy, Nessa Ni Shuilleabhain
and Edel O Connell to their starting 15. The loss of captain
Sarah O’Connor means more is now needed from the fringe
players to pitch in alongside lead lights Grainne Ni Fhlartharta,
Caroline Kelly and Patrice Dennehy.

As ever former all stars Kacey O’Driscoll and Geraldine
O’Shea will carry most of Kerry’s scoring threat and presuming
Katie Kenneally has recovered from the injury she sustained
in Tuam the Kerry attack should have enough about them
to send Robbie Griffin’s side into a Munster Final decider.


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