Juniors face tough test against Walsh trained Sligo

From The Kerryman by Jason O'Connor 18th August 2010
ADRIAN Greaney is the Kerry Juniors' big injury concern ahead of this Saturday's All-Ireland Junior Final with Sligo in Pearse Stadium, Galway.
The St Pats clubman did knee ligament damage in the club's County League clash with Sneem / Derrynane last weekend and manager Kerry O'Sullivan says it will be later in the week before they will properly be able to assess his availability ahead of the final.
Aodhan McGearailt sat out An Ghaeltacht's clash with Rathmore on account of a hamstring problem, but is expected to fully fit for Saturday; the same with Mike Murphy and Aidan Cahill who are expecting to shake off minor knocks.
Saturday's appearance in the final is a fitting tribute to the Juniors' efforts, a team that was not expected to advance too far this year, but in keeping with their manager's nature have quietly gone about their business and now stand posed to win the county's 15th title at this grade. O'Sullivan has noticed a greater degree of interest in the Juniors campaign in recent weeks.
"I think people realise we have some very good players here in the Juniors and some will make an impact on the Seniors in future years and the likes of Aodhan MacGearailt at the other end of the spectrum who's been there and done it before," O'Sullivan told The Kerryman.
O'Sullivan is weary of the challenge Kevin Walsh's Sligo will pose particularly freetaker David May (scored eight points in their semifinal against Louth). "The one fear would be that all the games we've been in we've been comfortable with 10 or 15 minutes to go and we really haven't come through a tight game and I expect this one to go down to the wire and hopefully the experience of the players in these situations in other matches will stand to us." If this is anything like that All-Ireland Qualifier in Tralee last year, then it should be worth watching.

Sligo will have the hunger, but Kerry have quietly got the job done in each of their games up to now and you feel that with the class of McGearailt and Mike O'Donoghue, coupled with other threats in the form of Alan O'Sullivan, Gary Sayers and John Buckley then Kerry have enough forward power to see off the Yeats County this weekend.

Communication, trust and honesty are key

ONE of the most impressive features of the Kerry Juniors’ campaign so far is how well the defence has worked as a unit and for one of the key members of that defensive unit, Adrian Greaney, communication has been the reason why the Kingdom have but up such a rock solid defence. “It’s communication and trust as well to be honest. I’ve gone to school with the likes of Gavin O’Connor and Eamon Hickson and played with them, the same with Brian McGuire in the U-21s. We trust each other to be honest and we know we’re all capable of marking our men.
We were disappointed with conceding 1-8 against Lancashire but I don’t think we were in any great danger of losing the game,” the St Pats man said. He accepts that not much was expected of the juniors this year but feels the arrival of Aodhan MacGearailt signalled a massive statement of intent on their own part. “It’s not just the experience Aodhan brings with him having won an All-Ireland with the seniors as well as what he achieved with the Gaeltacht, it’s his dedication also.

We’re a pretty young team bar the likes of him Fergal Griffin and Sean Og (O Ciardubháin) and if Aodhan was any younger he’d still be in with the seniors. He’s a great leader in training and you can see that he wants it. He drives up and down from Cork for every session and it’s a great to him at this stage of his career still having that determination,” Greaney said of MacGearailt. The delay in getting to Lancashire for the All-Ireland semi-final might have put a lot of other teams off but the Kerry centre-back said the team were still aware of the job they had to do. “It was a seven hour journey for me personally but we were still there a good hour before the match, the same you would for any club game and I suppose in some respects it will prepare for the next day because Galway is a long enough journey in itself,” he said.

Greaney is expecting Sligo to be fired up for this final not only because of Kerry’s victory in that dramatic qualifier in Tralee last year but also the disappointing way their seniors season fell apart after such a tremendous start. “They have been training with the seniors and I don’t expect us to get anything easy off them. We have to bring our ‘A’ game because we probably were a bit too complacent in the semi-final but we have to knuckle down now because you only get one chance in a final like this and I’m sure Sligo will be eager to make amends for what happened in Tralee last year,” Greaney said of the Yeats county men.

The Kerry Junior team’s preparation is always dependent on club activity but Greaney finds the system workable in terms of meeting not only his club’s but also the juniors’ needs. “Ideally you would like to get together more often but it’s good in some ways because it takes the pressure off the players in the run-up to games. Kerry is very understanding with us if we have to miss training because of club commitments but we’ve got together well now over the last two weeks,” he said. Where does Greaney see the game being won or lost? “We have to win the breaks for a start and get the ball into the likes of Gary (Sayers) and John (Buckley) and Aodhan and as a unit all over the pitch we’re going to have to be strong. “Sligo are going to be dogged no matter what and they will put their bodies on the line so it will come down to whoever is in the better position near the end.”

Last Updated (Thursday, 19 August 2010 23:37)