Kerry v Monaghan Allianz National League Preview
Kerry v Monaghan in the National League is the first game up on TV this Sunday and as February games go this sets up to be a cracker.
Fixture: Kerry v Monaghan
When? 1.30pm, Sunday, February 5th
Where? Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney, Kerry
TV Channel? TG4
Kerry v Monaghan Preview
Kerry are of course the reigning All-Ireland Champions after their impressive 2022 season. They also won the National League Division One title last year after demolishing Mayo in the final.
It is early in 2023 but Kerry have been shaky to say the least in the opening month of football. In Munster’s preseason competition, the McGrath Cup, the Kingdom were annihilated by local rivals Cork 5-11 to 0-14 in the opener. In their only other McGrath Cup game they just narrowly beat Clare by a solitary point. Yes, I know it’s preseason football but there were still regular starters on show and at the very least, it’s not the start to the year that Kerry would have hoped for.
They followed this poor showing in preseason action with a loss up in Ballybofey to Donegal in the opening round of the National League. It might be the first week of February, but make no mistake about it, this match with Monaghan is a big game for Kerry.
Here’s what our gaelic football ambassador Diarmuid Connolly had to say about this game for Kerry,
Monaghan at home is a huge game for Kerry now. If they don’t get points on the board it will put the pressure on and while they may still be favourites for the league, it’s no foregone conclusion by any stretch.
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Monaghan are looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2022 season in this National League campaign. They fell to eventual Ulster champions Derry in their second championship game of the season. They would then come up against Mayo in the qualifiers down in Castlebar where their season came to an abrupt end.
Ulster’s preseason competition, the Dr McKenna Cup, saw mixed success for the Farney men. They were beaten in their opener by four points against Down but they then bounced back to overcome Donegal by two points in their second and final McKenna Cup game.
It was a disappointing start to the National League for Monaghan in their opener as they lost to provincial rivals Armagh on a scoreline of 1-14 to 1-12. Monaghan didn’t play terrible football but Armagh just looked like the better team on the evening.
Key Players To Watch
Rory Beggan (Monaghan)
The best ‘keeper in the country bar none although Armagh’s Ethan Rafferty is coming for that title with his playmaking exploits out the field.
Beggan was the first goalkeeper to really popularise the fly keeper strategy that we’ve seen a host of Ulster teams employ in the past couple seasons and after watching Rafferty run amok last week I feel like we might see more of Beggan out the pitch than usual in this game. He is also sure to pop up with a couple scores from ‘45s and long range free kicks.
The Cliffords (Kerry)
David and Paudie Clifford were sorely missed last weekend in Kerry’s opening round loss to Donegal. The forward line looked far less dangerous than what we are used to seeing in the absence of Kerry’s two most potent forwards.
The two brothers from Fossa are only a couple weeks removed from leading their small club to All-Ireland Junior glory so it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing them this week as they enjoy a well earned rest from what was an incredible year.
Conor McCarthy (Monaghan)
Full-forward Conor McCarthy led the line for Monaghan last weekend with a tally of 1-02. All of those scores came from dead balls but they still have to be converted and McCarthy was able to do just that.
There’s no sign of Conor McManus returning for the Farney men just yet so McCarthy will likely be relied on to keep the scoreboard ticking over again this Sunday.
Darragh Roche (Kerry)
I mentioned the two Cliffords earlier and one man that put his hand up in their absence was Darragh Roche. The debutant impressed last weekend with three points in what was ultimately a losing effort against Donegal.
Kerry v Monaghan Head-to-Head Results
Monaghan 1-12 Kerry 3-14 | National League 2022
Monaghan 0-14 Kerry 0-17 | National League 2020
Kerry 0-17 Monaghan 0-13 | National League 2019
Monaghan 1-13 Kerry 0-14 | National League 2018
Kerry 1-10 Monaghan 2-08 | National League 2017
Kerry have won the last three meetings in the National League between these two sides but prior to that Monaghan enjoyed success in this fixture with two straight wins in 2017 and 2018.
Kerry v Monaghan Betting Odds
Kerry are the strong favourites going into this game. The Kingdom have been installed at strong odds-on of 1/3 to win. Monaghan find themselves at 10/3 in the betting as they bid to leave Killarney on Sunday afternoon with two points.
In the handicap betting, Kerry have been given four points to overcome by our odds makers and if you think they can beat that then you will find odds of 11/10.
Kerry v Monaghan Prediction & Best Bet
I don’t like betting against Kerry but I think there’s no other choice here with the value you are getting on Monaghan. Four points is a lot and without the two Cliffords I think Kerry will struggle to put up the points needed to overcome that handicap.
I still think Kerry will get over the line at home but I fancy Monaghan to keep this within four points so Monaghan +4 at 5/6 is the best bet.
Prediction: Kerry 0-13 1-09 Monaghan
Best Bet: Monaghan +4 @ 5/6
In the second TV game of the day Armagh and Mayo go head-to-head. Check out our Armagh v Mayo preview for the division one clash at the Gaelic Grounds.
*Prices subject to fluctuation