FORMER Cork All-Ireland winning captain and team boss, Billy Morgan believes Cork have a very good chance tomorrow night of ending a sequence of defeats by Kerry going back to 2012.
The great rivals collide in a showdown at Páirc Uí Chaoimh at 7pm on Saturday, their first meeting on Leeside since 2014 when the Kingdom demolished Cork. There have been three provincial clashes between the teams since, a draw and two Kerry victories.
Morgan is hopeful Cork can deliver this time though, having been impressed by the progress under Ronan McCarthy.
“I give them every chance. They gave a very good display against Tipperary in Thurles and the manner of that victory, I believe, has energised everybody.
“A lot is going to depend on how Cork fare out in the middle and I believe that Ian Maguire and Aidan Walsh are showing the kind of form to more than hold their own there.
“I think Walsh is starting to regain the form that was there in 2010 and he seems to be playing much better these days.
“They’ll be up against it with David Moran and Jack Barry but I’d be confident about our two in that area."
Morgan believes that both sets of defences will be crucial too, particularly Cork and how they cope with the threat of a Kerry forward unit that destroyed Clare.
“Look, Kerry have good forwards containing the likes of Paul Geaney, James O’Donoghue, Seanie O’Shea and young Clifford but I have good time for our backs. Kevin Crowley, Kevin Flahive and Stephen Cronin and the others are good players and, from what I am hearing, they are going well.
“Another player who seems to be starting to really fulfil his potential is Ruairí Deane while Luke Connolly is in great form. I know Kerry will be aware of his threat but again I’d be hopeful that we have the players in attack that can cause a lot of bother."
The former Cork great believes that the Cork bench can have a big influence on the proceedings too.
“Yes, Pau Kerrigan and Brian Hurley came in against Tipp and I expect they will here too. Colm O’Neill is, obviously, another and, whilst he might not get a full 70 minutes because of the injury that he sustained the last day, he is another that has great experience and can influence a game in whatever time he gets."
So what is required to get over the line?
“From what I am hearing, the atmosphere in the squad is top class and that’s very important. What’s important too is that the players don’t freeze early on, not like in some past years.
“I think the longer they can stay in this game and get the home crowd behind them the better is their chance of winning.
“I give them every chance.’’