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Sky Sports analyst Kieran Donaghy pictured ahead of the upcoming All Ireland Senior Football Championship.
Sky Sports analyst Kieran Donaghy pictured ahead of the upcoming All Ireland Senior Football Championship.

Kieran Donaghy wants Kerry to make defensive improvements

By Cian O'Connell

"Leadership I'm not overly worried about, getting our defence that bit tighter is something that has to be a serious focus for Kerry over the next few weeks," Kieran Donaghy says as inter-county action edges closer.

Before an interesting Munster Championship tussle with Cork at Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Kerry face two Allianz Football League Division One encounters against Monaghan and Donegal.

Despite the fact that several high profile and experienced campaigners have retired in recent years, Donaghy isn't overly concerned about that aspect.

"I was in with the group only two years ago and there is no doubt that these young guys coming through are fantastic leaders," Donaghy replies.

"We have great leaders in the team the likes of Paul Murphy, Peter Crowley, and David Moran, these guys.

"I think we have enough firepower up front that can win an All Ireland and beat any team on any given day.

"There was a lot of man to man defending last year and mind your own corner and I think there will have to be a bit more of a team approach where the ball is the danger.

"If Kerry work a bit on that they certainly have the players over the field where they can have a successful year. The defence is always something that has been thrown at them and it isn't really that unfair.

Davi Moran remains an influential figure for Kerry.
Davi Moran remains an influential figure for Kerry.

"We have conceded big numbers in games over the years. At this time of the year and this type of football, that will have to be reduced dramatically.

"Obviously keep the firepower we have going and even improve on that - Kerry will be in the mix."

Though Cork are beginning to make strides under Ronan McCarthy, Donaghy still expects Kerry to clear that hurdle Leeside.

"I think Ronan McCarthy is doing a good job with them, I think early on in the game last year they showed that they have players that can cause this Kerry defence issues," Donaghy states.

"It is going to be one of those days, a wet day in Pairc Ui Chaoimh. I was there when we had a very strong Kerry team against a good Cork team, and we often got turned over badly down there.

"Look, I think it is going to be really close, I really do. Those Under 20s that came through last year, a lot of them are very good players, big guys, athletes, and maybe Cork's running game coinciding with these new kids on the block to go along with the players they have at the moment, they are going to be a tricky test for this Kerry team, there is no doubt about it.

"I still fancy Kerry to go through, just about. It is kinda like the Mayo and Galway one if that happens in Connacht, I'm pretty much in the same boat with that one.

"Mayo should have the experience and know-how to get through that game, but this Galway side, under new management, is coming, and coming fast. I do fancy Kerry to get by, just about."