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LISTON & LEARN.. GAA KINGDOM TOLD TO LOOK NORTH; Bombshell for the purists as legend says Kerry need lessons from Ulster.

Byline: MICHAEL SCULLY

EOIN LISTON claims it's time the Kerry footballers turned to Ulster know-how.

In a view far removed from Pat Spillane's 'puke football' jibe, Liston feels the Kingdom should look north to fix defensive frailties exposed this year.

It will be interesting to see how the idea is received in a county that feels it belongs at the top of Gaelic football's pecking order, regardless of Dublin's recent dominance.

"The biggest thing that worries me about Kerry is our defence," said Liston, a seven-time All-Ireland winner.

"We never had to think too much about defence because we had fabulous individual defenders.

"Look at that team with Tom Sullivan, Mike McCarthy, Marc O'Se, Tomas O'Se, Seamus Moynihan, Aidan O'Mahony Jaysus, you could have put them anywhere. You don't need a system when you have them.

"But do we have those now? We don't. Should we have a better defensive system? We should. Have we the knowledge in the county to be able to do that? I don't think so.

"We have to go and learn that from teams that have been good defensively - up to Donegal and pick the brains of Jim McGuinness (inset). Up to Tyrone.

"That knowledge has to be brought in to Kerry."

Kerry failed to reach the All-Ireland semi-finals this year and haven't won the Sam Maguire Cup since 2014.

As such, Liston is anxious about the county board's search for the right man to succeed Eamonn Fitzmaurice in the Kingdom hot-seat.

"It's a huge appointment," said the legendary forward. "First of all, we need a fella with the passion and enthusiasm and this absolute love for it, that it isn't work. It's about learning, it's about picking the brains of the fellas that have been there.

"You have to think outside the box.

"You have to have Plans A, B, C and D."

Liston feels Peter Keane and Maurice Fitzgerald are strong contenders but adds that the backroom teams they bring with them are just as important.

"And it's knowing the importance of sports science," he added.

"Dublin have stolen a march in that. They're getting feedback every quarter, every 10 minutes, because of the stats.

"Some people might still not believe in it, thinking it's about man-management, 'We'll improve them this way'.

"But it's a huge job. It's like running Kerry Group. You can't go in there without the other skills and knowing what you're not good at."

CAPTION(S):

HOME TRUTHS Eoin Liston isn't afraid to speak his mind when it comes to how his county can improve

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Sep 28, 2018
Words:426
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