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'I think a lot of Kerry folk would be delighted for him because he wants to play inter-county football'

Tomás Ó Sé watched his former Kerry team-mate Conor Cox star yesterday.

WHEN TOMÁS Ó Sé was finishing up his Kerry senior career in 2013, Conor Cox was starting out on the inter-county road.

They shared a dressing-room in that campaign with Ó Sé retiring at the close of that summer but that debut season was not the launchpad for Cox to enjoy an extensive spell in Kingdom colours.

Conor Cox and Tadgh O'Rourke with Thomas Flynn Conor Cox chipped in with 0-5 against Galway yesterday. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

Yet it didn’t spell the end of Cox’s aspirations at the elite level of Gaelic football.

Yesterday Ó Sé was in Pearse Stadium on TV pundit duty and watched Cox play a starring role on Connacht final day, hitting 0-5 to cap his reinvention as a Roscommon attacker.

Rather than have regrets that Cox is lost from the setup of the Kerry side preparing for next Saturday’s Munster final, Ó Sé was delighted to see a former colleague succeeding elsewhere.

“He’s buzzing up there. His old fella is from Roscommon, he would have been brought up on football in general. Listowel would be football mad.

“That town Listowel with the Brogans and the Kennellys, it’s some story when you think about it. I think he’s done brilliantly well. There’d be something wrong with you if you didn’t enjoy the fact that he was going so well with them. Right now if there was an All-Star team picked he’d be on it.

“He just has a confidence, he backs himself even if he has a bad wide, he doesn’t stop. Like that last kick (for a point) he kicked, logically that shouldn’t be going over at all, outside of the right boot. Into the wind then as well. Now I don’t think he meant the other in the first half.

“The last two games, even in the Mayo game, he’s kicked huge scores. He’s won vital ball for them when they needed him to win it. Cox has definitely stepped up and I think a lot of Kerry folk would be delighted for him because he wants to play inter-county football and he’s getting the chance up there now.”

Conor Cox celebrates Cox was man-of-the-match in Roscommon's victory over Mayo last month. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The array of attacking riches in the Kerry side had made it difficult for Cox to make a breakthrough.

“In my last year in 2013, he was around the panel. I’d say he would have made the panel that year but he chose to travel. A young fella, you can’t step in his way or whatever, but that’s why he wasn’t there that year. He’s around quite a while. He’s physically a very strong player and he’s a huge addition to Roscommon.

“If you have Geaney, if you have Clifford, if you have O’Donoghue, would he get a game down in Kerry and would that be his role? I don’t think he’s an outside man, I think he’s an inside man. So he’d struggle probably to get his game. He won three junior medals with Kerry and he was flying with those teams.

“He’s doing brilliantly where he is. I spoke with Billy Morgan during the week, Billy Morgan could never understand why he wasn’t on the Kerry setup or why he wasn’t in there because he won huge Sigerson games for UCC.

“He was always a top forward in club football but I think did that initial stepping away from Kerry and going travelling, did that stand against him? I’m not sure. I’d always be of the belief if you’re good enough, you play. Maybe Kerry had a litany of forwards at the time and maybe he just didn’t get the break.”

Official Launch of Benetti GAA Ambassadors 2019 Tomás Ó Sé at the launch today of the Benetti Menswear GAA campaign for 2019. Source: Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE

In contrast to the success being savoured by Cox and his Roscommon team-mates, Galway’s form took a nosedive in the second half as their winning position at the interval was squandered.

“It was just a disaster for them,” stated Ó Sé.

“The kickouts imploded. They missed Duggan, they missed Conroy, they missed Comer big time. In fairness they’re three huge players. We knew they weren’t going to have those players yesterday and we still had them picked out as favourites.

“So I think it’s very disappointing. Their full-back line was badly exposed, their forward line just looked like they absolutely didn’t have a clue what they were doing. Shane Walsh was buzzing in and out, there was no structure to it. The substitutions, they were in trouble at midfield, there was nothing coming from the half-back line.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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