Shane Enright reveals how his mum was confronted by an abusive Kerry 'fan' after 2017 Mayo defeat
The comments of Kerry legend and current senior selector Mike Sheehy earlier this year about the reaction of elements of the county's support in the wake of their All-Ireland semi-final replay defeat to Mayo provoked a strong reaction.
Sheehy had been critical of the low numbers that had travelled from Kerry to the game by comparison to Mayo who, Sheehy felt, had just as far to travel in some cases.
But there was another strand to the eight-time All-Ireland medal winner's critique of some of that support.
The fallout made for a harsh, incriminating winter with Sheehy acknowledging the criticism was "ferocious".
"You'd stay away from the bars - oh you would. It was cat stuff," recalled Sheehy.
There is no harder county to be in after a defeat than Kerry. They have their standards and, even in the middle of a transition project that saw five players feature on a senior team in a Croke Park championship match for the first time, there is only so much latitude the team and management will get. Sunday's defeat brings it close to tipping point.
Shane Enright could probably identify with Sheehy's sentiment. Or perhaps, more accurately, his mother Stella could.
At last week's All-Ireland Championship launch on the Aran Islands, prior to the weekend defeat, Enright was Kerry's representative and recalled his mother being confronted by an abusive supporter at the Listowel Races last September a few weeks after the Mayo loss.
Enright had been under pressure in both games to a rampant Andy Moran, conceding 1-5 and then 1-1, before being hauled off in the replay.
"I think it was just something over the goal the second day that Andy Moran got," he recalled of the remark made.
"It's a bit over the top," he said. "I wouldn't mind them saying it to myself, but when you are getting stuff like that. That's the nature of the beast. That comes with it.
"She wasn't too upset now," he continued. "She takes it in her stride as well. Obviously, it's not a nice thing to happen.
"It was tough. I didn't perform in either of the Mayo games," he conceded.
"I was marking Andy (Moran) and he went on and won Player of the Year. He was playing very well at the time.
"I tried to keep the head down and stay away from it. But in Kerry there is always going to be flak if you are not playing well and they are expecting All-Irelands every year."
Enright may have paid a price for those head-to-heads with Moran but when Kerry resumed league action in January he was still corner-back and held his place for the following four games until he suffered a hamstring injury.
Having got over that he then tore ankle ligaments in the build-up to the Munster Championship and is just working his way back from that.
Sunday will probably come too soon for him, even with Kerry stretched for defenders as Killian Young is suspended and Jason Foley and Tadhg Morley, who missed last weekend, struggle with injury.
But he'll still be able to share his experience of marking Conor McManus earlier this year when Kerry lost to Monaghan at a wet and dreary Inniskeen. Not too dissimilar to the Galway game, Kerry just didn't have the know-how to break down a solid defensive structure that afternoon.
"He is an unbelievable kicker of the football," said the Tarbert man of McManus. "You saw that point he kicked from the sideline recently. Other players, you wouldn't be telling them to shoot from there, but even if he has got the ball 45 yards from goals, you got to be as tight as if he is 20 yards from goal because he will kick scores from anywhere.
"It's not easy if he gets a yard. All you can do is put as much pressure on him as possible."
Monaghan have enjoyed a decent league run against Kerry in recent seasons, winning three from four including that most recent Inniskeen meeting.
Ironically, Kerry's only win in that sequence came in Clones in 2016. Their other defeats were in Killarney (2017) and Tralee (2015).
Enright works with Bank of Ireland where David Clifford, scorer of 1-5 last Sunday, has been hired for the summer and the 30-year-old defender sees a young man with a "good head on his shoulders" each day.
"We'd be hopping stuff off each other every day - having a bit of craic. I suppose when you are hanging around with them kind of guys it kind of keeps you feeling young as well," he remarked.
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