KERRY LEGEND TOMÁS Ó Sé has had his say on a number of issues following Saturday’s All-Ireland semi-final replay defeat for the Kingdom at the hands of Mayo.
Ó Sé admitted that the sweeper system didn’t work and described the decision not to start James O’Donoghue as “wrong.”
Ó Sé says that Éamonn Fitzmaurice is still the man to take Kerry forward but added that the manager doesn’t have the players to win an All-Ireland title at this point in time.
He also criticised the refereeing of David Gough, describing the Meath official as “too fussy.”
Gough dished out a flurry of cards during the game – including three reds and two blacks.
Ó Sé had no issue with Kieran Donaghy’s straight red for punching Aidan O’Shea but he was vexed with the decision to black card Kerry sub Darran O’Sullivan during the second half.
Speaking on The Sunday Game last night, Ó Sé reflected: ”I’m not going to be blaming a referee for losing. It’s irrelevant because we would have lost the game anyway.
“I thought this (O’Sullivan incident) was a disgraceful decision. I think it’s Cillian O’Connor should have got the black card here.
“Darran, at the moment in play, put up his hand because Cillian O’Connor came across him. I’ve no problem with that (first yellow for Peter Crowley) but the next yellow card for Peter Crowley, I do have a problem with it.
“I don’t think it was a yellow card. I think the player (Colm Boyle) was slipping into him, he put his hand in, took it out straight away. It looked worse than it was.
“There was about 17 cards given out, I don’t think it was a nasty game. There was a lot of niggly stuff going on, I don’t think (Patrick) Durcan deserved to get sent off. They were just pulling and dragging.
I’m not defending Donaghy, what he did was absolutely wrong. There’s no defending that but if you watch it from behind, Aidan O’Shea stood on his foot.
“Now, the reaction was ridiculous. That’s why Donaghy reacted. But overall, I think Darran O’Sullivan has a huge grievance. I’ve never seen Darran react like that.
“If there was common sense on the other side of the road, he’d (Gough) cross the road.
“Kerry wouldn’t have won but I thought he was over-fussy. Look, technically he wasn’t wrong on a lot of situations, maybe three or four, but too fussy for my liking.”
On Fitzmaurice’s use of Paul Murphy in the sweeper role, Ó Sé commented: ”We haven’t done it properly, we haven’t tried it in the League. I think it worked badly for us. I don’t think it’s in us, we tried Aidan O’Mahony there (in the past).
“If a sweeper system is to work, you need to put pressure out the field. Chris Barrett, Colm Boyle, Keith Higgins, Lee Keegan, they were constantly coming through. No matter what sweeper was behind, they were finding their men.
“I thought it was the wrong decision to make. It was a brave decision because Kerry were so wide open last week.
“I don’t think they had to do that – they played Donegal in 2014 where they didn’t play a sweeper, they played Dublin in the National League where they didn’t play a sweeper.
I don’t think it was necessary, it was totally something that went against us and it hurt us in our attacking game. We didn’t have to play it, we could have been more defensive and with that sweeper system, we lost James O’Donoghue.
“Hindsight is great. It was a wrong decision, yeah (not to play O’Donoghue).”
“It was a risk Fitzmaurice took, it didn’t pay off. But when we didn’t have O’Donoghue inside there, we should have ran the ball more.”
And Ó Sé believes that Kerry now find themselves at a “crossroads”, after suffering a senior championship defeat to Mayo for the first time in 21 years.
“There’s a thing thrown out in Kerry that maybe Fitzmaurice has over-achieved with this team, that maybe in 2014, it was an All-Ireland that we shouldn’t have won.
“Kerry are at a crossroads – one All-Ireland in eight years. If you go back to ’97, they hadn’t won it since ’86 and they called it a famine.
That was 11 years. Now, we have one in eight at the moment so they’re at a crossroads. Have they the players at the moment? I don’t think they have the players to win an All-Ireland at the moment, no.”
But Ó Sé voiced support for Fitzmaurice to continue for a sixth season at the helm.
“Éamonn Fitzmaurice will probably get enough of it down in Kerry this week but I hope he stays on.
“He’s the guy to bring through the young fellas. It doesn’t mean that the young fellas are coming, that success is guaranteed but I do think he’s the man to carry them forward.”
Source: The42 Podcasts/SoundCloud
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