Monday 18 December 2017

O Se joins growing list in Kerry's hall of shame

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Sixteen months -- that's the amount of time Kerry footballers have been cumulatively 'off the road' since the infamous incident in the 2008 Munster semi-final against Clare, when Paul Galvin knocked the notebook out of referee Paddy Russell's hand in exasperation at his sending off.

Eight different players have picked up 12 suspensions over the last three years, highlighting a problem that has blighted a great team and at times cost them dear.


Kerry will argue that not all of the suspensions were justified, and they have railed against the close inspection that their games have received on television, particularly last summer's incidents.

But this week they are again facing the prospect of another key player missing a large chunk of time for an incident that probably could have been avoided.

The expectation is that Tomas O Se will be given a two-month suspension for a repeat offence within 12 months following his red card for his altercation with Tipperary's Hugh Coughlan just before half-time last weekend. It is understood Kerry won't contest the suspension.

It follows a league campaign that showed a marked improvement in Kerry discipline -- they topped the fair play index with just 14 yellow cards from seven group games, for which they picked up €5,000 -- but they still yielded one two-month and two one-month suspensions.

Barry John Keane got a two-month suspension for alleged use of the head against Cork in the opening round of the league in Tralee; Marc O Se got a retrospective one-month ban after his Croke Park altercation with Dublin's Eoghan O'Gara; and Tom O'Sullivan was red-carded in the last league game against Down.

Last summer the rap sheet was extended when Galvin picked up a two-month ban for his 'fish hooking' incident against Cork's Eoin Cadogan, and Tomas O Se picked up a month ban following a CCCC investigation after the Munster final against Cork when it was established that he had struck out against Stephen Kelly.

Both suspensions were retrospective and caused the players to miss the All-Ireland quarter-final against Down.

Their absence was sorely felt and Kerry failed to qualify for the All-Ireland semi-final for the first time since 1999.

Earlier in the year Galvin had been given a further two-month ban for another clash with Cadogan in a league match at Pairc Ui Rinn, a red card and suspension that Kerry contested vigorously and which they may have had strong justification in doing so.

Later in that league campaign, Aidan O'Mahony and Declan O'Sullivan got straight red cards against Tyrone and Monaghan respectively, bringing the number of straight reds in the campaign to three.

In their march to the 2009 All-Ireland final, indiscipline wasn't a major issue, though Galvin picked up a one-month ban for his clash in the Munster semi-final with Cork's Noel O'Leary.

Galvin was also in trouble in the previous championship season when he initially picked up a six-month ban for the notebook incident with Russell but later had it pared back to three months.

That year Darragh O Se lost a month to a red card that he received in the drawn All-Ireland semi-final against Cork; he had picked up two yellows in the Munster final against the same opposition earlier that year for which there was no suspension.

Kerry manager Jack O'Connor admitted "disappointment" with Tomas O Se's red card in the knowledge that he will be without his talented half-back for the remainder of another Munster campaign.

Irish Independent

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