'Don't blame Eamonn Fitzmaurice, Kerry just aren't good enough' - Ó Sé
Marc Ó Sé has urged the Kerry supporters calling for Eamonn Fitzmaurice's head to get real and accept that the Kingdom "just weren't good enough" to win the All-Ireland this year - and they won't be good enough to win it next year either.
Ó Sé acknowledges that the team underperformed in the semi-final replay defeat to Mayo, but he is adamant that his old team-mate Fitzmaurice should be handed a contract extension similar to the three -year deal Tyrone granted Mickey Harte this week.
"In our county, if you don't win the All-Ireland, there's always an inquisition into why, and at the end of the day I just don't think we were good enough," said Ó Sé, who retired last year.
"Certainly there were mistakes made (on the sideline) on the day, and nobody knows that more than Eamonn, but every manager makes mistakes, and there's no doubt that he's the best manager there to do the job. I think he'll come back stronger - he just needs to be given time.
"People are quick to write him off in the county - and these are the fellas that don't even go to the matches, they just wait for the final… maybe the culture among the fans needs to change. You have to realise we are just not good enough.
"There's areas around the team where we were exposed against Mayo: our full-back line, our half-forward line."
Is there any hope that Kerry will be good enough next year?
"I don't think it will happen next year, I think it will take a while," said Ó Sé (37), a five-time All-Ireland winner.
"Kerry have been very successful underage, winning the last three minors, and people assume that will translate into senior titles, but there's a huge gulf between U-18 and senior level, and that's not going to happen overnight.
"We need to be patient, and we need to find two or three more players."
Ó Sé feels that Mayo's odyssey through the back door gave them an advantage over a Kerry side that hadn't been tested in Munster or in their All-Ireland quarter-final dismantling of Galway; he reckons the Super 8 format will help the Kingdom in future seasons, by giving them more games to get battle-hardened.
He was impressed with Mayo's performance in the semi-final replay but he is tipping Dublin in the decider.
"I don't think there is anyone out there that can stop Dublin, the way they are going at the moment, no way," he said. "You just have to look at the players at their disposal."
Marc Ó Sé was speaking at the eir Sport pack season launch.