Tyrone v Kerry: Darran O'Sullivan says Red Hands will make life 'difficult' for Kingdom

Kerry v Tyrone: Kingdom need to show maturity to beat Red Hands
All-Ireland SFC semi-final: Kerry v Tyrone
Venue: Croke Park Date: Saturday, 28 August Throw-in: 15:30 BST
Coverage: Live text commentary and match report on BBC Sport website

Former Kerry captain Darran O'Sullivan believes Saturday's All-Ireland Football semi-final will be nothing like the Kingdom's six-goal Football League demolition of Tyrone in June.

Bitter experience has told O'Sullivan never to discount Tyrone and he says Kerry will have a "difficult task".

"It was one of those freaky games," said O'Sullivan of the June match.

"You were kind of going 'that's not a Tyrone that we know from watching them over the last 10 or 15 years'."

O'Sullivan added: "Kerry know it's not going to be like that. They know Tyrone aren't going to come with that approach.

"I can't see Tyrone being that attacking again. I think they will try and mind the house and frustrate Kerry and I think Kerry just have to show maturity and a bit of patience to break them down."

O'Sullivan captained Kerry to the 2009 All-Ireland title but also played on the Kingdom teams vanquished by the Red Hands in 2005 and 2008.

'There is a dislike for Kerry'

The former Kingdom skipper believes the sight of the Kerry jersey inspired those Red Hand teams captained by current Tyrone joint-manager Brian Dooher to greater heights.

"I do think there is a dislike for Kerry. They seem Kerry as the media and the fans' favourite who get a soft touch. They will be going in for Kerry and will give Kerry nothing easy.

"I didn't have many wins against them on the big days.

"Tyrone are the only team that can play two games in one match. They can play the spoiling where they knock you off your course but they can also play their own game.

"They have some fantastic footballers which sometimes gets overlooked because they have that aggressive, defensive style."

David Clifford shows his disappointment after Kerry's shock defeat by Cork last November
David Clifford and his Kerry team-mates were stunned by Cork in last year's Munster semi-final in Novembers but regrouped to crush the Rebels in this year's provincial decider

2020 hurt has bred Kerry 'togetherness'

However, O'Sullivan feels that there is a steeliness and togetherness in this current Kingdom crop which previous Kerry teams maybe didn't have.

"Last year's [last-gasp defeat by Cork] hurt. Sometimes you need to lose games to really start to click.

"Last year hurt them. The manner in which they lost. The amount of time they had to wait for another game. Having to listen to it all year - I think that's the main thing.

"I've heard David Moran talking about how together that team is at the moment. I was part of a lot of teams with David which were very together. He's saying that is the most together group he has been part of. That says it all."

As for the pandemic-enforced delays which mean Kerry will be playing their first game in five weeks amid the delays caused by the Tyrone squad's numerous Covid case, O'Sullivan says it could result in a rustiness in the Kingdom performance.

"It's not idea preparation. Most players would tell you four weeks is a long time and now it's five.

"But they've looked focused all year. It may take them a bit of time to get into the game.

"They haven't had much competition so far this year but I think they have the focus at the moment. They might start a bit slower than they would have wanted but I think they'll be OK."

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