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Belfast Live
Belfast Live
Paddy Tierney

Kerry vs Galway: Team news and five key battles which could decide Sunday's All-Ireland football final

And so there were two. The Kingdom and the Tribesmen. The 2022 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship reaches its conclusion on Sunday as Kerry and Galway clash in front of over 82,000 spectators in Croke Park.

The champions of Munster and Connacht will be hoping to return home with the Sam Maguire in their possession.

Kerry haven’t been champions since 2014 - a famine by their incredibly high standards.

Read more: Former Antrim ace Owen Gallagher plotting All-Ireland success with Tribesmen

Galway manager Pádraic Joyce was still playing when they last lifted Sam back in 2001.

Joyce has kept the faith with the same starting team that saw off the challenge of Derry in the semi-final.

Cathal Sweeney returns to the squad after serving a one-match suspension for his part in the melee in the quarter-final win over Armagh last month while Antrim native Owen Gallagher is also included among Galway’s substitutes.

Kerry manager Jack O’Connor, meanwhile, looks set to give defender Gavin White every chance of playing in the final after including him in his starting team.

White was forced off late on during the semi-final victory over Dublin with a knee injury, but still must be rated as a doubtful starter.

Should White miss out, Paul Murphy would be the obvious replacement while an ankle injury means Dara Moynihan doesn’t make the 26-man squad.

If Kerry go with the 15 they’ve selected, it will be an unchanged line-up from their last-gasp 1-14 to 1-13 win over Dessie Farrell’s men.

Starting teams:


1. Shane Ryan

2. Graham O’Sullivan 3. Jason Foley 4. Tom O’Sullivan

5. Brian Ó Beaglaíoch 6. Tadhg Morley 7. Gavin White

8. David Moran 9. Jack Barry

10. Diarmuid O’Connor 11. Seán O’Shea 12. Stephen O’Brien

13. Paudie Clifford 14. David Clifford 15. Paul Geaney


1. Connor Gleeson

2. Liam Silke 3. Seán Kelly 4. Jack Glynn

5. Dylan McHugh 6. John Daly 7. Kieran Molloy

8. Paul Conroy 9. Cillian McDaid

10. Patrick Kelly 11. Matthew Tierney 12. Johnny Heaney

13. Robert Finnerty 14. Damien Comer 15. Shane Walsh.

Key Battles

David Clifford (Kerry) v Sean Kelly (Galway)

Kerry's David Clifford, pictured in action in the semi-final win over Dublin, is the current favourite to be named Footballer of the Year. (©INPHO/Ryan Byrne)

There will be 30 players on the pitch on Sunday and yet the winning and losing of the All-Ireland final could come down to just one duel.

David Clifford is Gaelic football’s MVP. A three-time All-Star at just 23, the Fossa ace is the bookies favourite to be named Footballer of the Year this season.

He has yet to win the most coveted prize in the game, however, and Sean Kelly will be determined to extend his wait for a Celtic Cross for another season.

The Galway skipper held Clifford scoreless from play in the Sigerson Cup final earlier this year as NUIG defeated UL, although Clifford still scored a penalty and two frees.

Kelly is likely to need extra assistance in Croke Park and it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see to a sweeper, John Daly or Jack Glynn, deployed in front of Clifford.

Sean O’Shea (Kerry) v Liam Silke (Galway)

Kerry’s Sean O’Shea scores the winning point in injury-time against Dublin (©INPHO/James Crombie)

There will be incredible pressure on the free-takers of both teams, but Sean O’Shea illustrated against Dublin that he can be lethal from play as well.

Before he nailed that stunning 55-metre free to defeat the Dubs in injury-time in the semi-final, he scored the game’s opening goal in fine style and is Kerry’s top scorer in the Championship to date with 1-23 including 1-10 from play.

With Kelly likely to be on Clifford’s toes, Galway could put Liam Silke on O’Shea in Sunday’s decider.

The Corofin defender put the shackles on Shane McGuigan in the All-Ireland semi-final with the Derry star only scoring one point from play.

Silke will be hoping he can do a similar number on O’Shea, but Kerry’s six starting forwards will all need close attention.

Jack Barry (Kerry) v Cillian McDaid (Galway)

Kerry midfielder Jack Barry, pictured in action against Dublin's Brian Fenton, could find himself picking up Cillian McDaid in Sunday's decider. (©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo)

As ever, the battle for skies at midfield will be vital when the two goalkeepers opt to go long. There are no shortage of great fielders on either side and David Moran and Paul Conroy are likely to go head-to-head at various stages.

Yet, the more telling battle could be between the other midfielders. Cillian McDaid turned in a Man-of-the-Match display in Galway’s thrilling quarter-final win over Armagh.

While he didn’t reach the same heights against Derry, his ability to link defence and attack is vital to the Galway cause.

Jack Barry, so often Brian Fenton’s Kryptonite, could be deployed by Jack O’Connor to track McDaid wherever he roams.

Barry is more than just a spoiler, though, and is very capable of causing damage if given too much rein himself.

Damien Comer (Galway) v Jason Foley (Kerry)

Galway's Damien Comer hit 2-2 in their semi-final win over Derry. (©INPHO/Ryan Byrne)

With 21 minutes played in the All-Ireland semi-final, Galway already looked in serious bother. They hadn’t troubled the umpires and Derry were three ahead.

Damien Comer single-handedly dragged his side into the game with a brilliant point into the Hill 16 end and he finished with 2-2 from play in a classy display.

Few players have gotten the better of Brendan Rogers this season, but Comer was a handful in the semi-final.

Jack O’Conner will be hoping that Jason Foley can stick close to Comer throughout and the Kerry full-back will need to be at his very best on Sunday.

While Foley got the better of Dean Rock in the semi-final, the in-form Comer poses a very different challenge and he’ll need the assistance of Kingdom sweeper Tadhg Morley in the final.

Shane Walsh (Galway) v Tom O’Sullivan (Kerry)

Galway’s Shane Walsh in action against Conor McCluskey of Derry in the semi-final. (©INPHO/James Crombie)

Shane Walsh couldn't break free from Conor McCluskey against Derry, but he still contributed 0-4 from frees, including the ’45 that was ruled wide by Hawk-Eye before being awarded at half-time.

Put simply, Pádraic Joyce will need Walsh to contribute more from open play if Galway are to lift the Sam Maguire for the first time since 2001.

Jack O’Connor will have other ideas and he could well put his best man-marker on Walsh in Sunday’s decider.

Tom O’Sullivan, a two-time All-Star, had a brilliant semi-final on Cormac Costello and could hardly be faulted for the Dublin attacker’s superb second half goal.

O’Sullivan might switch over to Comer if Foley is struggling, but he is likely to start on Walsh as Kerry look to shut down the threat of Galway’s two most potent forwards.

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