Moynihan lets rip at ‘flat’ Kerry
IT'S very rare they break ranks in the Kingdom, so when Seamus Moynihan concedes that there is something "seriously wrong" in the Kerry set-up, it makes the football world sit up and take notice.
The Glenflesk star played under Jack O'Connor during his first stint as Kerry boss, but in the light of last Sunday's listless defeat to Cork, Moynihan feels that the current side are in need of major surgery.
"Kerry were certainly flat on Sunday, very flat -- there was no panache, there was no champagne football," says the four-time All-Ireland winner. "The Kerry team look like a team that are not enjoying their football. We still have some of the most talented footballers in the country and we could only kick 0-12 last Sunday.
"If you were picking a team in the morning, you would still be picking Darran O'Sullivan, Colm Cooper, Declan O'Sullivan, Paul Galvin and Kieran Donaghy -- they would make any team in the country.
"But right now we are not getting the best out of them. It seems to be very flat at the minute and it's hard to put your finger on it.
"You know that there is way more in those players, but it's just not happening.
"They look like a team that is jaded or tired, or there appears to be something seriously wrong with the training or with the set-up, because we are simply not getting the best out of that team."
Kerry undoubtedly have miles on the clock. Before 2010, they had reached six successive All-Ireland finals, winning four.
Moynihan's final campaign with Kerry came in 2006 when O'Connor pulled a masterstroke in the qualifiers by switching Kieran Donaghy to full-forward.
That switch reinvigorated the Kingdom and they emerged as All-Ireland champions, hammering Mayo in the final.
Kerry navigated the back door once more under O'Connor in 2009 to claim Sam Maguire for the 36th time, and Moynihan believes the Kingdom can recover to be in the September shake-up.
"Absolutely -- Jack has done it before in '06 and in '09," he said. "Back in '06, I remember being well beaten down in Pairc Ui Chaoimh in the Munster final replay and people said after the game that Kerry were finished. Yet we came back and breezed through the qualifiers and won the All-Ireland after we made a few changes.
"It was the same thing in '09. We had a fantastic league campaign, winning it, but then we went through a serious lull around the same period as the current squad.
"We were hammered by Cork after a replay in Cork and then scraped past Longford and Sligo. We were a bit better against Antrim but Croke Park and Dublin energised us and we had Dublin beaten out the gate after 20 minutes."
And despite Martin Carney's assertion that Sunday was the "day the music died" for this generation of Kerry footballers, Moynihan sees one more kick in this Kerry side -- the Kingdom have yet to lose a qualifier since their introduction in 2001.
"We definitely need to change things, because we have fantastic footballers," says Moynihan.
"We have to realise that, if you look back on last Sunday, we missed three goal chances.
"Donaghy should not have passed the ball for the second chance and he got blocked for the third. If any of those had gone in, it could have been the turning point.
"If Bryan Sheehan had been playing, he would have scored those two '45s' and (there was) another free that Gooch dropped short so we could have been going in level at half-time, even without a goal.
"In my experience it was a great motivating factor to be written off by everyone -- you come back in determined to prove the critics wrong. Lots of the Kerry players will be thinking like that, and I think there is one kick in this Kerry team yet.
"We lack shape at the minute and it cost us against Mayo when we beat ourselves and last September (against Dublin), it was a similar story -- players were playing the ball too deep and they were playing the ball laterally.
"That's not Kerry football and maybe you need a kick up the backside. When Jack sits down and reviews last Sunday there'll be no better man (for that).
"He will change things around because our shape is not right at the moment and it will have to be addressed."