David Moran: 'No sense in Kerry throwing baby out with bathwater over Dubs' defeat'
David Moran believes Kerry's defence of their All-Ireland football title in 2015 should not just be looked at through the lens of an All-Ireland final defeat to Dublin.
Ahead of next week's Allianz league start, when the game's heavyweights meet again in Croke Park, Moran feels any analysis of Kerry's disappointing final should not involve "throwing the baby out with the bathwater.'
Nor is the midfielder sure if Dublin can now be presented as Kerry's 'bogey team' after three successive victories over the Kingdom, similar to Tyrone's trio of wins in the previous decade.
"You can't hide the fact that we've lost three times in a row to them," he admitted. "I'm not sure if they're a bogey team. They are a very good side, the same as Tyrone were in the Noughties.
"They were better than us on the day. In 2011, it was more even. In 2013, we were a point up with a minute to go.
"Those games can go any way at the end of the season.
"We've lost three times in a row but before that our record was very strong. A lot of the older guys would still have a very positive record against Dublin."
Moran doesn't feel any more pressure coming from within the county after the defeat as they look ahead to 2016.
"Was 2014 more of a pressure year because we hadn't won it since '09," he asked.
"I'm not sure there's any more pressure this year than there was in '14 after losing to Dublin in the semi-final.
"You can't throw the baby out with the bathwater either. There was a lot of stuff last year we did well and we came up short in the final. I don't think it's any different from what '14 was or 2009 when we lost to Tyrone in '08."
Moran has shaken off a back injury that was problematic in the weeks and months after the All-Ireland final and may have stemmed from a concentrated period of final accountancy exams which he was studying for (and sitting ) during September.
But he insists the injury bore no relation to his form which peaked for the Munster final replay against Cork and the All-Ireland quarter-final against Kildare and established him as the leading contender for Footballer of the Year before tapering off in the final two games.
"It was a bulging disc in my lower back so I had a lot of work over the off-season. The big test will be Saturday week, we'll see how good it is But I feel okay.
"I had a lot of exams in September as well and the sitting didn't help. But I wouldn't use it as an excuse either.
"I didn't play as well as I would have liked. I had a bit of a hamstring injury coming into the Tyrone game but it just didn't work for me.
"I wasn't that concerned because when you win, everyone wins and like in the Dublin game, when you lose, everyone loses. I suppose looking back, that wasn't the way I would have liked to go but I don't know, I just have to work harder and hopefully it doesn't happen this year."
With so many players out injured for the early part of the league, Moran expects his Kerins O'Rahillys colleague Tommy Walsh will get plenty of exposure.
"There was probably a lot of spotlight on Tommy there last year because he came back from Australia.
"But if you went through our panel the last couple of games, there was a lot of other guys that achieved an awful lot in the years before that that didn't get the same time they would have liked. It's a big opportunity for them too.
"I don't think it's just Tommy. He had a lot of spotlight because he came back from Australia. I think the slate is clean.
"If I'm not playing well I won't be on, if I'm playing well I will be on, the same as Tommy, the same as Bryan Sheehan, same as Anthony Maher, same as Johnny Buckley. Everyone's the same.
"Maybe last year didn't go as like Tommy would have liked but if he's a great year this year, then last year is forgotten about. You're as good as your last game."