O Se tells Kerry to quit backchat and 'set an example'
LESS backchat and more football please... that is Kerry legend Paidi O Se's message to the Kingdom squad.
The eight-time All-Ireland winner believes the Kerry players have developed a "bad habit" of talking back to referees that reflects poorly on the county and detracts from their football.
"It's something I've noticed coming in to the Kerry team in the last six months or so and I don't know where it came from or why it is happening," O Se said.
"Several other people have said it to me too. This giving out to a referee was never a part of Kerry football and it shouldn't be now -- and we are starting to see a lot of it from some of the players.
"I'm always conscious that Kerry footballers are under the microscope and that a lot of counties might look to Kerry as a yardstick in terms of how things should be done, and we need to be setting the example."
O Se insisted this is a new phenomenon for the county's footballers, who have made a mixed start to the league after beating Dublin at Croke Park before their shock loss at home to Armagh last Saturday night.
"We lost the five-in-a-row to a push in the back (in 1982) and there wasn't a word about it. It was done, over with and that's the way it should be.
"You are not going to influence a referee by shouting at him or giving out. It's just common sense," added the former Kerry captain, who last night launched the 23rd Comortas Peile Paidi O Se which will be held in Ventry on February 24-26.
The expanded competition will see the men's senior cup named after the late Dermot Earley, while the player of the tournament award will now be named after the former Sunday Independent Editor and Kerry footballer Aengus Fanning, who died last month.
O Se, who will seek to have the tournament officially added to the GAA's calendar next year, denied that much of Kerry's frustration at match officials stems from Joe McQuillan's handling of September's All-Ireland final, which enraged many in the Kingdom.
"It can't all be traced back to the All-Ireland final," countered the the former Kerry, Westmeath and Clare manager.
"There were elements of it there before that, and it isn't doing them any good. Plenty of people are in agreement with me and it should be addressed."
While O Se agreed that some of the recent melees that have hit the headlines haven't done the Association any good, he warned that the deterioration of the skills of the game is an equally pressing issue.
"When I was playing, those free-for-alls we have been seeing weren't really as much as a factor as they seem to be now. From my experience, it was more one-to-one stuff and you wouldn't have everyone piling in.
"How are you going to root it out? I don't know. It's an issue that will be looked at but there's a lot good about our games -- though we are seeing the skills demonstrated less and less.
"I was in Tralee last Saturday night and Armagh kicked some wonderful long-range points in the second half and they really added to the spectacle. But there seems to be less emphasis on that now.
"I watched the All-Ireland final again last night and we moved the ball back and across the field through the hands a few times before we looked to go forward with it.
"But of course there are so many men behind the ball now that if you do try and kick it there's a good chance you'll be giving the ball back. There's no easy fix or solution to it but it's changing the game."