Friday 22 August 2014

Sheehan backs South Kerry young guns

Damian Stack

Published 15/05/2013 | 05:36

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26 October 2008; Bryan Sheehan, South Kerry. Kerry Senior Football semi-final, South Kerry v Kerins O'Rahilly's. Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney, Co. Kerry. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

NOT that long ago they were the most feared brand name in the county.

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Back then South Kerry was synonymous with success. Three championships on the bounce. They came ever so close to four in-a-row and even after that dream was extinguished they came back to land another title, this time with former Dr Crokes manager John Galvin at the helm.

This was was a glorious period for football on the Iveragh peninsula. Corn Uí Mhuirí and Hogan Cup titles came to Cahersiveen. County, Munster and All Ireland titles came to Skellig Rangers and St Michaels / Foilmore. It couldn't last could it? It couldn't. With St Michaels / Foilmore striking out on their own South Kerry's hold over the Bishop Moynihan began to weaken. The old ferocious drive and hunger just wasn't there anymore.

St Marys and Dromid Pearses proved that the talent is still there with their championship successes. Perhaps, all that's missing for South Kerry – a team that can boasts talents like Bryan Sheehan, Declan O'Sullivan and Killian Young – is that little bit of spark. That little bit of hunger. Four years on from their last triumph, after watching Dr Crokes usurp them as top dogs in the Kingdom, the old hunger has to be on its way back, doesn't it?

"It is coming back," Bryan Sheehan says.

"Last year, we felt that things were going well, but on the night against Stacks things just didn't go our way. We didn't fire well. I suppose maybe the fact as a team we weren't playing together long enough to have the belief to come back, whereas in the past we had big characters to pull the game out of the bag. Maybe we didn't have that experience in the championship over the last year or two. That's why you'd be hoping that this the third year with the younger fellas who are there they might just be able to step up."

A generational shift, as Sheehan suggests, hasn't much helped their cause in the last few years. Although that is very much a double edged sword for the other teams in the County Championship. South Kerry were vulnerable as they blooded new talent. As the years go by those new players will get stronger and stronger and with each defeat their resolve to emulate their elders' achievement will have been stiffened.

"We need the new comers to buy into it," Sheehan says.

"South Kerry in the past we've had great players, Brian Hickey, John Sugrue... they all kept the show on the road. They drove it on there when the inter-county players were missing. They kept the show on the road and they kept the ship sailing. We're just unfortunate to have lost them because they were big leaders both on and off the field. They looked after the younger fellas and did everything for them.

"They were very good and since they moved on we just need to get the new comers in and coax them into it. Get belief in the young fellas and make them realise what winning a county championship is all about. We just haven't witnessed that yet. If we do that I think we've a great chance of competing."


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