Saturday 24 February 2018

O Se keen to bypass back-door diversions

Marc O Se has urged his team to learn from last year's mistakes and avoid a trip to the All-Ireland qualifiers.
Marc O Se has urged his team to learn from last year's mistakes and avoid a trip to the All-Ireland qualifiers.
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

IF last year's football championship had a familiar outcome with Kerry climbing the steps of the Hogan Stand on a September Sunday, the journey was distinctly unfamiliar.

The back-door route saw the Kingdom flirt dangerously with elimination against both Longford and Sligo, and Marc O Se agrees that the Kerry house will have to be in order earlier this time around.

"We didn't intentionally go out to lose to Cork last year," said the 2007 Footballer of the Year. "It just happened. When you go into the back door, it's an open draw and you don't know who you're going to be playing.

"We had a few banana skins last year where we might have lost and on another day it could have gone that way. I won't say you're in (complete) control, but if you win a Munster championship you're certainly more in control going in the front door."

Kerry's league campaign has been watched with interest as Jack O'Connor goes about overhauling a team shorn of Darragh O Se, Tadhg Kennelly, Tommy Walsh and Diarmuid Murphy and while they won't retain the league title they won last year, Marc O Se is happy with how they are progressing.

"We won the league here last year and I don't know, we probably didn't learn that much out of it. We stumbled along for the championship last year. I think we have a more settled team this year. The management probably know what they're looking at more; you never know until you play championship what's around the corner but hopefully it'll stand to us.

"We've Tipperary in the first round and we can't look beyond them."

O Se ruled out a return to the inter-county fold for his older brother but tipped him to have a big influence for An Ghaeltacht, who will contest the intermediate championship this year.

Darragh will also train the West Kerry combination managed by his uncle Paidi -- players from the 2004 All-Ireland club finalists are also eligible to represent the combination side after their relegation from the senior grade.

"Darragh's a hard nut to crack. I think he's had 16 years playing now with Kerry so I think he's entitled to his retirement. I don't think he's going to come back. We had a club game at the weekend and he did excellently, he was fantastic. There's a lot of work being put in in January, February, March, April (with Kerry) so you need that work behind you. I don't think we'll see him back.


"It'll be a big change for him, plus the Gaeltacht lost senior status last year so we're back with West Kerry again. There's an opportunity for him because we'd feel that we have a chance of maybe making the last eight, the last four and maybe the county championship so hopefully he'll put his enthusiasm and effort into that.

"I'll still have Tomas out in front of me anyway so that's a major addition. But obviously it's going to be a big change. Since I was coming in with Kerry, (Darragh) has been there and it's a big change already, not alone on the football field but inside in the dressing-room and at training and things like that.

"You'd have great craic and he brings fellas along with him. It's going to be a massive change but we're just going to have to get on with it. We just have to move on and we're going to have to do without him this year."

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