The mind games begin in the Kingdom ahead of traditional showdown

The mind games begin in the Kingdom ahead of traditional showdown
Cork's Sean White and Kerry's Jack Barry exchange views last June. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

KERRY have started the mind games of the Munster football final against Cork at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday fortnight.

TV pundit Pat Spillane was gushing in his praise of the Rebels' 21-point thumping of Limerick, comparing them to Barcelona, though it didn't guise that it was very much tongue-in-cheek.

On RTÉ's Sunday Game, the former Kerry great grinned from ear-to-ear as he spoke about the Cork threat with fellow panellist, Ciarán Whelan, giving a 'here we go again' glance in his direction.

The ex-Dublin powerhouse provided more credible offerings when saying football needed a strong Cork once more, but also offering a reminder of how often we've been here before.

Cork coach, Ronan McCarthy, believes it will take a victory over one of the Super 8 teams for his charges to be rated.

Former Kerry coach, Eamonn Fitzmaurice, suggested Cork are getting back to where they should be.

In his Irish Examiner column, Fitzmaurice wrote that 'a Cork team with confidence is a dangerous animal.'

“It is part of a Kerryman's DNA to be on guard when it comes to Cork, which is why their lack of performance over the last while has been so puzzling to me.

“Finishing the league strongly (albeit being relegated), winning challenge matches in the meantime (including beating Dublin), and a comprehensive win over Limerick means confidence is rising.

“The Munster final in three weeks' time is suddenly starting to regain the allure of old,” Fitzmaurice added.

The bookies, however, have a more realistic view on the game, pricing Kerry at 1/7 to win their seventh provincial title on the spine with Cork available at 11/2.

Twelve months ago Kerry dished out a 3-18 to 2-4 drubbing on the Rebels in the first Munster final at the redeveloped stadium.

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