Monday 11 December 2017

Fear of failure driving Sheehan

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Kerry captain Bryan Sheehan has admitted Kerry will have failed if they don't reach an All-Ireland final in September.

Despite the erosion of the squad due to AFL contracts and retirements, Sheehan says the barometer for this Kerry team will remain the same this summer.

Manager Jack O'Connor has been keen to dampen expectations on the back of so many departures, but, Kerry being Kerry, Sheehan sees the same old pressure to deliver stacking up as the summer advances.

"The way you're brought up in Kerry is that you're measured on success. We set the bar so that if we don't find ourselves in an All-Ireland final in September, it's a failure of a year."

Sheehan finds himself involved in much the same battle as Darran O'Sullivan was last year in trying to secure a place on the team to justify his captaincy.

He knows, however, that the honour will not provide him with any guarantees, just as it didn't for O'Sullivan at times last season. Ankle and knee injuries have also inhibited him somewhat.

"I had to go back to get the knee looked at after suffering a small tear in the cartilage. That delayed my comeback by two weeks, but ever since then, it's going grand.

"It was disappointing for it to happen at the start of the year, especially considering the year that's in it and I'm captain. I'm feeling good now and I've done a lot of sessions outside of our scheduled training.

Sheehan admitted the Kerry dressing-room is a strange place without Darragh O Se, but enough leaders have emerged to accommodate his loss.

"He was well able to gauge things, when you needed to have the craic and when you needed a serious chat. But, at the same time, this team has been to a lot of All-Ireland's and that brings out the leaders -- the likes of Tomás O Se, Paul Galvin, Declan Sullivan, 'Gooch'.

"They've been around for a long time and there are leaders on the team throughout. As much as Darragh and Diarmuid Murphy are massive losses, it's time for other fellas to step up."

Irish Independent

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