The pressure of keeping Kerry’s main man quiet on the Drive for Five perhaps got to Jonny Cooper, Anthony Moyles suggested.
Cooper was sent-off in the drawn All-Ireland football final between Kerry and Dublin, giving away a penalty in the process for a foul on David Clifford.
Much of the talk in the build-up to the replay on Saturday has focused on whether Jim Gavin will stick or twist with Cooper marking Clifford.
Speaking on Tuesday morning’s OTB AM, Anthony Moyles said that despite the Kerry star beginning the game slowly, maybe the pressure of the event got to Cooper.
“We said after the first game it wasn’t necessarily a physical match-up that was worrying.
“Clifford was snatching at things in those first five or 10 minutes and although he was winning ball on Cooper, it wasn’t like, ‘okay I’m under major pressure here.’
“It was more like his nervousness or apprehension of the task ahead of him that kind of got into his head.
“You could see that in the penalty where he was grasping at him, looking where he was. Cooper knew he needed to get contact on Clifford,” the former Meath captain said.
Moyles added that if he was in Jim Gavin’s position he wouldn’t have Jonny Cooper marking David Clifford in the replay.
“I wouldn’t do it myself personally. I just think it’s in his head now.
“The fear of the task maybe got into him a little bit and he knew Clifford was a main guy and he had to stand up to it.
“I would remove that from him and say, ‘listen, it’s not about you or the last day, it’s about you now stamping your authority on the game,’” Moyles said.
With plenty of questions about how Dublin will approach this game, he thinks Dublin can ill afford to leave Cooper out of the team completely.
“Cooper is definitely needed in that backline. The level of support from the substitutes bench is just not there so he’s massively needed, but I don’t think he’s needed on Clifford.”