FORMER KERRY DEFENDER Marc Ó Sé believes Stephen O’Brien is the man to track Jack McCaffrey’s marauding runs from deep in Saturday’s All-Ireland final replay.
The Clontarf flyer scored 1-3 in a devastating man-of-the-match performance in the drawn game. Initially, it appeared Adrian Spillane was the man tasked with picking up McCaffrey but Gavin White switched across shortly after the wing-back bagged Dublin’s goal.
But McCaffrey continued to torch the Kerry defence, forcing White’s withdrawal on 49 minutes before Stephen O’Brien eventually picked him up.
Ó Sé says Kerry need a rethink if they’re to avoid a similar fate this weekend.
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“I think there will have to be a different plan for Jack McCaffrey. Stephen O’Brien finished up on him and I think he’s probably the most suitable fella to mark Jack McCaffrey.
“It’s a huge task to try to nullify McCaffrey, he’s a serious footballer, kicking 1-3 from half-back. When you have to put a defender on him, it just shows you how good he is.
“That said, maybe that’s not the way to go about it. Maybe we need to put a forward on him, maybe we need to put Jack McCaffrey on the back foot and see how does that work.
“And I think Stephen O’Brien would be the best suited for that because he’s been in the form of his life this year,” he added.
Marc Ó Sé helped launch eir Sport’s new season of action today at the Sport Ireland Campus.
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The Kingdom legend believes physicality is required as well as pace in order to shut down McCaffrey’s runs.
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“(O’Brien) would have the legs, but, most importantly, he’d have the physicality as well,” he says.
“Gavin White had the legs, but in terms of physicality, McCaffrey just goes and you have to do what Paddy Durcan did and have that physicality for him.
“That’s a huge thing that people tend not to see and tend to overlook. I just think the physicality, he just goes, and if you have a fella that can go with him but also be able to stop him up just before he builds up his momentum.
“I just think if Kerry can keep him quiet…but, look, they have so many match-winners all over the field, that’s the big thing about Dublin. You’ve the likes of (Ciaran) Kilkenny who didn’t really perform to how we know he can perform.
“Brian Fenton, Con O’Callaghan, Paul Mannion, there are so many players who can up their performance and that’s the dangerous thing from a Kerry point of view. It’s an area Peter Keane can keep an eye on.”
James O’Donoghue failed to make the Kingdom’s 26-man panel on the first day out, but could come into the reckoning for the replay.
“I’d say he’s in with a chance for the replay,” says Ó Sé. “I know he was back training before the drawn match but probably didn’t have enough sessions done so this two-week gap will give him a far greater chance of making the panel.
“But, again, it will be interesting to see if Peter Keane changes up his panel for the replay. Yeah, if he was fit, no better man to bring in, particularly towards the end of the match because he’s a fella who can get scores and a fella who would possibly strike fear into the Dubs defence.”
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