No need to hit panic button, insists O Se
Published 06/02/2013 | 04:00
FIRST round league defeats rarely attract such attention. Thus, Marc O Se doesn't pretend to understand the reaction to the surprising manner of Kerry's defeat to Mayo, but he does accept it.
He concedes last Sunday was a "kick in the backside" and that there was no excuse for failing to score in the second half, regardless of the conditions.
But Kerry sometimes can even be slow starters come the championship in the summer, so O Se won't lose too much sleep over a loss in February.
"There are no panic buttons, it is only the first round of the league. Fellas are training hard and I suppose the bodies are finding it tough as well. We did okay in the first half, but the second-half performance, we'll just have to look at it.
"It was very disappointing, but the other side of it is that it's the first game of the league, we have things to work on in training and trying to get a few things right.
"Certainly, it wasn't nice not to score in the second half and we'd be hoping, when we play Dublin at the weekend, that we'll improve that side of it.
"I know there are a lot of negatives, but I'd be very positive, looking at the performance of say Jonathan Lyne and Johnny Buckley."
Tomas O Se will return after missing last weekend, but a defeat to Dublin on Sunday could leave them with a mountain to climb in terms of reaching the knockout stages of the league.
Kerry have away days in Kildare, Donegal and Tyrone to come, meaning points are at a premium. And O Se insists involvement in the league for as long as possible remains Kerry's best route forward.
"You want to do well in the league, because you want to play an extra game or two, get to the semi-finals or final. So, you're playing nine games then and that's good preparation for championship... There's no substitute for games really.
"They are saying the top eight teams are in Division 1 and you would nearly have to go along with that – if you look at all the teams they seem to be very strong."
The absent established players will return as the year rolls on and Kerry will be more than competitive this year. It's after the current generation move on that it looks less secure.
There is little in the way of success at underage level to go on in recent years, but O Se points out that Kerry have long drawn blanks at underage football only to flourish at senior.
"I think we have been very lucky in the last few years that we have been able to produce a player or two every year.
"Okay, Kerry haven't won an All-Ireland minor since '94, but if you look at the players that have come through every year since then, you are looking at fantastic players. Players who have gone on to win four, five, six All-Irelands, so lack of success at minor doesn't worry me at all,"
The competition is in its 24th year, but this is the first running since the passing of the Kerry legend before Christmas.
"Páidí's death is only just gone, so it's very early days yet to be thinking about it spurring you on... Any day you wear the green and gold jersey, you'd be thinking of him."