Saturday 26 May 2018

Losing All-Ireland final was not right way to go out - Ó Sé

Kerry's Marc Ó Sé
Kerry's Marc Ó Sé
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

At this stage it is the unavoidable question at Marc Ó Sé's annual press briefing.

As the last active member of the famed west Kerry clan, he's rolled out at this time of year to promote the 27th PhoneWatch Comórtas Peile Páidí Ó Sé, which takes place from February 19-21.

And with each passing season he's asked the same question: for how long more can he go on?

As it turns out, returning for a 15th senior inter-county season was a more straight-forward decision than you might think for a man who turns 36 later this year.

"It was different to two years ago (when he was thinking about retiring), when I was worried about an injury I had," said Ó Sé (right).

"That was the only things stopping me. This year, after losing the final too, I didn't feel right about the way it finished, and just wanted to finish up differently. It didn't go according to script I suppose."

It might have been different had Kerry won last year's final but Ó Sé is not sure he would have wanted his last act as a Kingdom footballer being to sit on the bench for 70 minutes.

"After the semi-final things just didn't go my way," he explained. "I was sick for a few days after the semi-final, got a calf injury, and then in the days leading up the final tore my hamstring. That was 10 days before the final. I passed the fitness test the night before. I wasn't myself. It wasn't the way to go out."

He won't play until at least the trip to Newry on February 28 but there are some significant personal landmarks on offer in 2016.

Should Kerry win this year's All-Ireland, Marc would join brother Darragh on six medals, leaving Tomás behind on five. Marc could also pass Tomás' Championship appearance record for the Kingdom in 2016. He has appeared for the Kingdom 85 times, just three behind his brother.

"When you say it now, it'd be great to have a small bit of bragging rights over Tomas because he'd let you know fairly fast," he said.

"But in the bigger scheme of things, it's not (important). It's just about playing with Kerry as long as I can because I'm getting great enjoyment out of it; even last year, looking back at the games that I played, I really enjoyed last year.

"This question was asked last year and the answer was I was enjoying football.

"Take away the final, I was delighted with the year last year. I got great enjoyment out of it, I got great enjoyment out of the Cork game, I got great enjoyment out of the semi-final, the 14 minutes I played against Tyrone, I got great enjoyment out of the Kildare match, I really enjoyed it.

"The body felt great; (I'm) not there to break records or anything like that, it's to keep going for as long as I can.

"I always remember my father saying years ago, there's nothing worse than wasted talent. I think it'd be a shame if I quit when I still feel that I have something to offer. I'd find it hard to walk away anyway. I think it'd be a big change when I do happen to walk away from it, I really enjoy it and I love playing."

Ó Sé wasn't keen on the possibility that any new 'B' All-Ireland competition could be named after his late uncle Páidí.

"I haven't even thought about this. . . It's a strange one. I suppose Páidí holds the record along with four other fellas of winning Sam Maguire eight times. And he is being remembered then, hypothetically, for a competition that he never even played in, so that possibly doesn't go with the territory."

It's on-field matters that interest Ó Sé most but he agrees that Kerry have a point to prove in 2016.

"We performed well below par last year (in the final). We came up three points short, but to be honest with you, the scoreboard was flattering enough for us, we probably should have lost by more," he said.

"(Dublin) have beaten us now three times in the last few games that we've played them. So they definitely have it over us. There's a motivating factor there too to try and get one over the Dubs."

Irish Independent

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