Shane and Michael are joined by John Evans to talk all things football, and to look back on the life of Liam Kearns who sadly passed away last week.
John Evans recalls that he and his great friend Liam Kearns started out their football lives as adversaries.
Both men spent their early GAA days immersed in Kerry football and chasing glory for rival teams.
Kearns has sadly passed away at the age of 61, a loss keenly felt by Evans who went on to become a close friend.
They joined up on management teams over the years, and both men had spells in charge of Tipperary.
“He was and adversary of mine, first of all, a fairly staunch one,” says Evans.
“He played for (Austin) Stacks, and they and ourselves — Laune Rangers — we respected each other, but when we went at it we went at it hammer and tongs.
“Liam was at centrefield for Stacks and played centre-forward at times, and he was a powerhouse.
“He carried that into his managerial skills, and all of his teams were very aggressive — they went at it with tenacity and endeavour.
“Tactically he was very astute, and prided himself on the number of match-ups he’d get right, and finding weakness in the opposition. He was a very driven man.
“He would ring me, he would be in the gym, and coming off the treadmill or going on the bike, having a sup of water.
“He’d be hopping an idea of what he wanted to do off someone, or asking what you think, and because we were both managers of so-called weaker teams, he was striving to bring teams up the divisions.
“He loved the position he was in at the moment with Offaly — loved it.
“He thought there was huge potential there even though they were missing nine to ten players, but it was about settling them into Division 3 and he was hoping to kick on.
“It’s a sad day for the young team,” Evans adds. “One thing struck me and I think it was poignant: I looked at the guard of honour, and I looked at it in detail outside the church as Liam was being brought in and out.
“God, they’re young, God they’re young lads, so young. I spoke with Anton Sullivan briefly who would be around 30, but they’re like babies to be honest, and that was the exact thing that Liam wanted — he wanted young lads and instilling confidence in them.
“That’s what he was so excited about, and he’ll be a huge, huge loss…”
Evans also speaks of how David and Paudie Clifford have been managed, the feeling in Kerry after their key men had extended club seasons, and the rebirth of Tony Brosnan.
The Kingdom native feels that Roscommon are defensively “a small bit light,” and talks about Mickey Harte’s job with a Louth team who face Dublin this weekend in a promotion clash.
He also feels that Mayo, who host Monaghan this weekend, will need to manage their resources carefully in the next month or so.
“They go to a league final and a week later they’re out against Roscommon, who aren’t too bad either at the moment.
“Two weeks later, if they get over Roscommon, they get Galway. That’s a tricky three fences to jump and come out the other side.”
DIVISION 1: WHO WILL JOIN MAYO IN THE FINAL?
Sunday (1.45): Galway v Kerry, Pearse Stadium; Roscommon v Donegal, Dr. Hyde Park; Tyrone v Armagh, Omagh; Mayo v Monaghan, Hastings Insurance MacHale Park.
What’s decided? Mayo have qualified for the final.
What’s to be decided? Galway (8 points), Kerry, Roscommon, Tyrone (6 points each) are all in with a chance of reaching the final. A draw against Kerry would be enough to earn Galway a place in the final, irrespective of results elsewhere. Donegal (3), Monaghan (4), Armagh (5) have relegation concerns, with Donegal most at risk as they not only need to beat Roscommon but also hope other results go their way to have any chance of avoiding the drop.
Galway are seeking their first win over Kerry since 2018 when they won a Division 1 game by three points. Kerry have won four times since then – by a point in the 2019 and 2020 Leagues; by 23 points in the 2021 League and by four points in last year’s All-Ireland final.
Roscommon and Donegal last met in the League in 2017 when Donegal won by a point. Mayo beat Monaghan by two points in last year’s League.
Tyrone and Armagh met twice last year, with Armagh winning both. They won by six points in both the League and All-Ireland championship qualifier.
Ryan O’Donoghue (Mayo)…… 2-22 (16 frees, 1 mark)
Darren McCurry (Tyrone)………0-26 (18 frees, 1 mark)
Rian O’Neill (Armagh)…………..0-24 (13 frees, 4’45s’, 1 mark)
Matthew Tierney (Galway)……..3-13 (0-5 frees, 0-01 ‘45’)
Diarmuid Murtagh (Roscommon)…1-15 (0-9 frees)
DIVISION 2: DERRY SECURE PROMOTION IN SIX ROUNDS
Sunday (2.0): Clare v Limerick, Ennis; Dublin v Louth, Croke Park; Kildare v Meath, Newbridge; Cork v Derry, Pairc Ui Chaoimh.
What’s decided? Derry will be promoted, returning to Division 1 for the first time since 2015. Limerick and Clare will be relegated. Limerick return to Division 3 after one season while Clare were last there in 2016.
What’s to be decided? The second promotion slot will go to Dublin or Louth who meet in Croke Park next Sunday. Dublin are bidding to return to the top flight after one season in Division 2.Louth were last in Division 1 in 2007.
Dublin and Louth meet in the League for the first time since 1997 when Louth won a Division 2 game by two points in Parnell Park.
Derry beat Cork by nine points in last year’s League.
Kildare and Meath last met in the League in 2021 when the Lilywhites won by three points.
Clare and Limerick last met in the League in 2016 when the Banner won a Division 3 game by six points.
Shane McGuigan (Derry)……2-32 (0-15 frees, 1-0 pen, 0-2 mark)
Stephen Sherlock (Cork)…….0-28 (16 frees, 3’45s’)
Dean Rock (Dublin)……………1-20 (1-0 pen, 0-13 frees, 0-1 ‘45’)
James Naughton (Limerick)…1-19 (0-14 frees)
Sam Mulroy (Louth)…………..0-19 (13frees, 1 mark)
Brian Hurley (Cork)……………1-16 (7 frees, 2 ‘marks’), 1 ‘45’)