1. WIN BREAKING BALL
Kerry are down a key ball winner in the suspended Paul Galvin, and if Aiden O’Mahony is out injured, they will be without another of their best players at picking up breaks.
That gives Galway much more scope to pick up the breaks around the middle third.
If Barry Cullinane and Niall Coleman contest all Paul Doherty’s kick-outs and break down Diarmuid Murphy’s restarts, at least it stops Darragh Ó Sé getting clean possession. Broken ball gives Galway’s half-forwards and half-backs something to work on. However, if Kerry snaffle up the majority of those breaks, Galway will be in real trouble.
The breaks are vital this Saturday, and if Galway are to win, they will need to collect the majority of them. Bravery and guys bombing onto the ball could make all the difference. Winning dirty ugly carpet ball is often the difference between success and failure.
2. STOP DONAGHY AND WALSH
This is easier said than done. Kerry just bombarded their twin towers last Sunday with sky scrapers, and with their height and power they are difficult to contain.
Finian Hanley has done well on Kieran Donaghy in the past and Gareth Bradshw will probably get the nod to put the handcuffs on Tommy Walsh.
They will need their half-backs racing back to help out and collect any breaks that fall from their aerial jousts.
Kerry’s is a primitive enough tactic, but it is bloody effective, and with the likes of Colm Cooper loitering with intent, all they need is one or two to work and Paul Doherty will be kept busy.
3. KEEP SCORABLE FREES TO A MINIMUM
Kerry’s Bryan Sheehan is a terrific free taker. The Galway defending must be of a very high quality and easy frees cannot be given away cheaply anywhere inside the 50 metre line. Against Leitrim, Galway conceded far too many scorable frees and were punished accordingly - that cannot happen against a team of the quality of Kerry.
If a forward is good enough to kick a point under legitimate pressure from a defender, then so be it. That’s life, get on with it, and deal with the consequences. Don’t just foul him and make a hero of their free-taker who will kick the score anyway.
4. SCORE A FEW GOALS
Michael Meehan and Cormac Bane could be vital in this department.
The Caherlistrane man is in a rich vein of form currently and is full of confidence. He may not be the best man to win his own ball, but he is a cool finisher and has hit the net in the past with regularity for both club and county. He crashed home a great goal against Mayo in 2007 and another such strike would delight the Galway supporters.
Meehan will probably be picked up by Marc Ó Sé who is like a limpet. However all the Caltra man needs is one chance, and if Padriac Joyce could find him with one of his heat-sensor passes, Meehan can make the Kerry net rattle.
5 -DON’T STAND OFF AND TEAR INTO THEM
If Galway show Kerry too much respect this Saturday, they will be well beaten.
Cork showed the Galway lads the template on how to disrupt the Kerry flow in the Munster final. They played it tough and hard and got in their faces.
The likes of Darragh Ó Sé, in particular, likes to do things at his own pace, and if Barry Cullinane could rattle Ó Sé in a disciplined and calculated way, it would be a major plus for Liam Sammon.
Ó Sé has always played on the edge and rarely finishes the game without collecting the minimum of a yellow card. He likes to throw his weight around and it is up to the Galway midfield partnership not to be intimidated or bossed by him.
A big advantage for Galway is that Kerry will be extremely confident of winning. There is already talk emanating from the Kingdom about their delight at getting another rattle against Cork in the semi-final.
Hopefully that confidence will have strayed into the arrogance zone by 3.50pm on Saturday.
If they expect to win easily, and Galway play with a ferocious hunger and work-rate and get a run on them, Kerry can be rattled. No team is unbeatable. If Galway have asked serious questions of Kerry coming into the home stretch, and they are there or thereabouts with a few players showing some real leadership and belief, they can shock the pundits and the bookies.
Kerry are expected to win by the majority of the country. However if the 30 men in the Galway dressing room believe differently and play accordingly, they can spring a shock.