By Micil Glennon
Kerry face Clare at the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday in their third qualifier in three weeks knowing they have what it takes to progress, throw-in 7.00pm.
Last weekend’s clash with Tyrone was exactly what the doctor ordered for Kerry. After a lacklustre start to the Championship, where Tipperary gave them a scare and being second best to Cork, they came within a whisper of exiting against Westmeath – shades of Sligo in 2009 – but it seemed to be the jolt they needed.
In many ways, Tyrone in Killarney was perfect – a grudge game, a large home crowd, ideal conditions, and a powerful performance.
And now a short trip to Limerick to dispose of the Banner will keep them ticking over for the real assault on Sam.
Manager Jack O’Connor goes with the same XV that started against Tyrone meaning that they can call on Darran O’Sullivan, as they did against Westmeath, if the going gets tough.
Kieran Donaghy also seems to have rediscovered his form and when he and Colm Cooper are on the same wavelength there are very few defences that can deal with them.
Defender Tomás Ó Sé is set to make a record 82nd Championship appearance for the Kingdom.
In contrast to Kerry’s preparation, Clare have been waiting since their Munster final defeat to Cork at the start of July and will be cursing their luck that they got the toughest team of all in the draw.
A date with Tipperary or Laois would have given them some hope of progress but a Kerry team on fire is a different proposition.
Boss Micheal McDermott also goes with the same team that lost to the Rebels in the provincial decider.
There is still a bit more work to be done for Kerry to get to their optimum level but Clare don’t have enough quality to make up the difference.
Kerry: B Kealy, M Ó Sé, A O’Mahony, S Enright, T Ó Sé, E Brosnan, K Young, A Maher, B Sheehan, P Galvin, Declan O’Sullivan, D Walsh, J O’Donoghue, C Cooper, K Donaghy.
Clare: J Hayes, K Harnett, B Duggan, L Healy, E Coughlan, G Kelly, J Hayes, G Brennan, G Quinlan, S Brennan, S McGrath, A Clohessy, R Donnelly, D Tubridy, M O’Shea.