Kerry came agonisingly close to All-Ireland glory last year and remain unbeaten in 2020 after their last-gasp victory over Galway on Sunday.

However, eight-time All-Ireland winner Pat Spillane has identified a disturbing trend that he thinks could prove the team's Achilles' heel.

"The same problem remains with Kerry," he told the RTÉ GAA Podcast.

"When you run at the Kerry defence, particularly when you run down the centre... think All-Ireland final replay, Eoin Murchin running unopposed from the half-way line to score a goal.

"Fast-forward to the first round of the League. Brian Fenton cruising through to kick easy points against Kerry.

"Last Saturday night, what was really worrying me was the ease with which Shane Walsh ran through the centre of Kerry's defence, past two Kerry defenders with no hand laid on him, and scored a goal.

"Would the Dubs have allowed David Clifford to run from the middle of the field right through the centre of the defence? Would Tyrone have allowed him to do it? 

"Kerry have lovely ball-playing defenders. They're very comfortable on the ball but most of them are probably natural half-backs rather than full-backs.

"We need a Philly McMahon or a Ryan McMenamin. A couple of teak-tough man-marking boys that will block that middle."

All the signs point to the Kingdom being Dublin's closest challengers again this year, which Spillane accepts, but he warns there is a lot of ground to make up, even as the five-in-a-row champions transition to a new management team under Dessie Farrell.

"We're a work in progress," said Spillane. "There's no point in pretending otherwise, we're still a good distance away from the Dubs.

"We're getting close. We beat them in the League last year. Drew with them in the League this year, but we lost an All-Ireland final replay and drew a match we should have won.

"Yes, Kerry have great attacking talent. Yes, we have great youngsters coming through. Yes we're probably the second best team in the country. But until we sort out the defence, until we get a few man-marking, teak-tough defenders...

"Dublin have a system of play. They have a great balance between defence and attack, they have leaders and great decision-makers. We are at the head of the chasing pack but we're still a good bit away."

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