Saturday 10 December 2016

Tomás Ó Sé: We played right into Dublin's hands and they lapped it up

Published 21/09/2015 | 02:30

Dublin's Jack McCaffrey celebrates after the game
Dublin's Jack McCaffrey celebrates after the game

Losing to Tyrone three times in the last decade still tortures me to this day but three consecutive defeats to the Dubs will be even harder for this bunch of Kerry footballers to take.

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The losses to Tyrone always stuck in my craw but over time you come to the realisation that you weren't good enough and as hard as it is to take, we weren't up to standard yesterday.

I always took defeats personally and I'm sure the lads will be no different.

It's very hard to take the fact that we were outfought and outmanoeuvred but Dublin are a serious outfit and they brought incredible intensity throughout.

That sense of under-performing will leave the lads distraught, however, and there will be some serious soul-searching over the winter.

Kerry just didn't show up in Croke Park and my brother Darragh described it well when he said that nothing can make you lift the gloom after an All-Ireland final loss.

They will have had lads clapping them on the back all last night at the hotel but they'll be disgusted with themselves and, having soldiered with these great players for so long, I'm gutted for them.

As hard as it seems now, you just have to power through it and bounce back. Every time we were beaten when I was involved, we would go back harder and try win it the next year.

The first-half was a bit surreal. Watching the game from a high, I couldn't believe what I was seeing and never before have I witnessed such a static forward line. We played right into Dublin's hands and they lapped it up.

Every time the lads out on the field looked up there was nothing to aim at, but I suppose that's a testament to Jim Gavin's tactics. Fair play to Cian O'Sullivan for putting in an extraordinary hour with all the doubts about his fitness, he marshalled things excellently.

Outside of him I thought Jack McCaffrey and in particular James McCarthy were outstanding. Their attacking runs had us at sixes and sevens.

Hats off to young Brian Fenton at midfield also, what a find he has been this year and he nearly capped off his day with a goal.

In fairness to our lads, we tried hard to crack Cluxton and we did to some extent but it didn't make a difference because Dublin were the hungrier, faster and fitter side, and they were winning all the personal duels.

We had stacks of chances in the first-half but it was a day when nothing seemed to be going right.

We were in trouble at half-time and I would have shaken things up a bit and thrown on Tommy Walsh to see if his presence could make things happen.

I just think we needed a different focus but you can't question Eamonn Fitzmaurice and this is only his second championship loss as manager, both have been to Dublin unfortunately.

Bombarded

Despite starting the second half brightly, we were lucky to still be even in the game as the Dubs bombarded our goal and you won't hear of any hard-luck stories down our way with regards to a late penalty call on Kieran Donaghy.

We don't have any excuses, Dublin should have been out of sight and we were made play second fiddle all over the pitch.

Going forward, we have to hold onto Fitzmaurice.

He's the best manager we've had in a long time but unfortunately time is probably up for my younger brother Marc.

It's a sad day for him and he'll be heartbroken with the way it's all finished up.

As a spectacle it was a bad final and it was an even worse day for Kerry. I was sure travelling up that we'd win it but Dublin seem to have a hoodoo over us since 2011.

They've now beaten us three times in five years, as if losing an All-Ireland final wasn't bad enough.

The only silver lining was a magnificent win by our minors. What a performance it was to dismantle Tipperary and, after waiting for so long to get our hands on a minor crown, we now have back-to-back wins.

It's great that Jack O'Connor has immersed himself in rebuilding under-age football in Kerry.

It ensures that better days will be witnessed in Croker at senior level in the near future.

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