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“I don’t think Kerry will get past the quarter-finals”

Enda Varley gives his concerns about the All-Ireland champions while Steven Poacher explains where Kerry need to improve

Enda Varley gives his concerns about the All-Ireland champions while Steven Poacher explains where Kerry need to improve.

Enda Varley insists that Kerry are waiting to have their defence of the All-Ireland title ended.

The Kingdom cantered through Munster but were beaten soundly by Mayo before labouring past Cork.

This weekend Jack O’Connor’s charges face Louth, before the knockout football begins in earnest.

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“Kerry aren’t firing on all cylinders, it’s in Portlaoise,” says Varley.

“The coaching in Louth from Gavin Devlin and Mickey Harte, they have improved a lot in recent years, and I think they will come and cause Kerry some issues here.

“I reckon Kerry will squeeze through by two or three points, and I think Cork are going to give Mayo some problems too.”

Steven Poacher mentions Kerry’s lack of size in the middle third, and how Louth will bring Conor Grimes out to the middle third to exploit that.

“I could have egg on my face (yet), but I think Kerry are waiting to be beaten here,” says Varley.

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“I don’t think they’ll get past a quarter-final, I really don’t. I think they will be gone by the quarter-final.

“I may regret saying that,” he chuckles.

“They were dismantled by Mayo in the first round (of the group stages) and all their main players are playing five out of ten compared with last year, when it was eight out of ten.

“In terms of the likes of Tadhg Morley, Gavin White, Diarmuid O’Connor, Jack Barry — they haven’t been firing on all cylinders.

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“The loss of David Moran and they haven’t unearthed new players.”

“If Kerry want to win the All-Ireland again, they and Mayo need to become more accustomed to breaking down these blanket defences, and get better at it as well,” says Poacher.

“In the league, there were times when Kerry struggled to break down Mayo, struggled to break down Roscommon for long periods in Kerry, and struggled to break down Armagh who should have got something out of that.

“Kerry have a lot of work to do on beating a defensive block and, if they can manage that at the weekend, it will give them confidence going into the quarter-final.

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Varley feels that Cork’s athleticism could cause Mayo problems this weekend but feels his native county will have enough to win, with Poacher pointing to the advantage of Kevin Walsh’s “squad knowledge” of Kevin McStay’s charges.

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