Friday 24 May 2019

Nothing less than All-Ireland title accepted as success in Kerry - O'Shea

Kerry's Seán O'Shea. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Kerry's Seán O'Shea. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Some things never change and Kerry young gun Seán O'Shea believes nothing less than lifting Sam Maguire will ever be deemed a success among the Kingdom faithful regardless of any transition which they may be going through.

Standards within Kerry have always remained sky high but with Peter Keane taking the reins, and a host of high-profile retirements like Kieran Donaghy and Donnchadh Walsh, it is likely to take some time to bounce back.

They may have five successive All-Ireland minor titles under their belts but the senior game is a different kettle of fish, although fresh faces like O'Shea, David Clifford and Gavin White were among 2018's best performers.

O'Shea acknowledges that football is "a lot of people's lives" in Kerry and the 2016 All-Ireland minor-winning captain feels that nothing - even Dublin's record-breaking exploits - changes the lofty expectations of what they should be achieving.

"Every year down in Kerry … for our supporters and players alike, if you don't have an All-Ireland at the end of the year it's not a successful year, no matter whether you win the league or a Munster Championship," O'Shea said at Electric Ireland's Higher Education Championships launch.

Benchmark "That's the benchmark, that's the gauge for Kerry football and it has been forever really and it probably won't change either. Every year at the start, every competition you enter you want to win it really."

Had it not been for Clifford's tour de force, O'Shea would likely be the Kerry prodigy on everyone's lips after a stellar debut season and the free-scoring Kenmare attacker expects more talented youngsters to make a mark this year.

"The squad will be younger than previous years and fellas will be making debuts and looking for game-time and other fellas trying to get a place for the championship and put their name forward," the 20-year-old said.

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"For most young fellas in Kerry the goal is to play for Kerry and win All-Irelands with Kerry and play in Croke Park for Kerry, so I presume most fellas would be looking to push on. There is good talent in the county at the moment."

One player in a different age bracket, however, is the returning Tommy Walsh, and O'Shea believes the towering attacker will be "a great asset" after earning his recall.

"It's great to have him around the place. He's obviously a very powerful man, strong, a good target man and stuff like that. Just looking forward to playing with him as well and experiencing that too," O'Shea said.

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