Red Hand blitz has put Keane future in doubt

Two and half months after losing by 16 points in the Allianz League semi-finals to Kerry in Killarney, Tyrone celebrated a truly incredible transformation in Croke Park yesterday to reach their first All-Ireland final against the most prohibitive odds. In the final seconds, Tommy Walsh had the ball in his hand but under fierce pressure from Ronan McNamee he shot to the left of the goal and the ball went dead. David Coldrick was about to blow his whistle at the end of an extraordinary day.

xtraordinary because Kerry, who scored 21 goals between league and championship this year, and six goals in that league meeting with Tyrone, failed to raise a green flag. Extraordinary because Tyrone, who had scored only one in winning the Ulster Championship, hit three. Against a backdrop of managerial transition, the move from the era-ending departure of Mickey Harte, Tyrone have conjured up a stunning season’s achievement in reaching the final day.

Kerry must face a torturous winter, much worse than the last. The management team headed by Peter Keane looks unsustainable after this crushing loss, even though there are mitigating factors. The five-week gap since they won the Munster final is one thing. The distraction over Tyrone’s Covid episode and the lack of clarity over whether there would even be a semi-final hardly helped either.

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