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Marc Ó Sé calls for Kerry to hand Eamonn Fitzmaurice a new deal

“I’d still have great time and respect for him the way he goes about his business.”

ONE OF THE pitfalls of managing the most successful side in Gaelic football is they’re not all that used to losing.

Eamonn Fitzmaurice and Marc O'Se after the final whistle Eamonn Fitzmaurice and Marc Ó Sé share a moment in 2013 Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

About 129 iterations of the All-Ireland SFC have been played out since the inaugural season in 1887, with Kerry going all the way a record 37 times.

That means just over 28% of the time, Kerry have been crowned champions. They’re used to winning down in the Kingdom, but only once in the last eight years have they lifted the Sam Maguire.

When that poor run is placed against the backdrop of three successive All-Ireland minor victories – and a fourth likely to come later this month – it’s easy to see why there’s discontent brewing in the county.

Tomas Ó Sé wrote earlier this week that he very much understood what his late uncle Paidi meant when he infamously said in an interview that Kerry people were “the roughest type of fucking animals you could ever deal with.”

14 years later it’s Fitzmaurice who’s feeling the heat from inside the county.

“In our county if you don’t win the All-Ireland there’s always an investigation into why,” says Marc Ó Sé.

Marc Ó Sé eir Sport GAA analyst Marc Ó Sé was at the eir Sport pack season launch yesterday in Dublin Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“At the end of the day I just don’t think we were good enough, I genuinely don’t. Certainly there was mistakes made on the day and no one knows that more than Eamonn.

“Every manager makes mistakes. There’s no doubt he’s the best manager there to do the job. It’s from our own county, it’s not the journalists. They (some Kerry supporters) are quick to write him off. These are the same fellas that don’t even go to the matches and wait for the final.”

It’s not as if there are alternative candidates circling like vultures around Fitzmaurice.

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Three-time All-Ireland winning manager Jack O’Connor may fancy another crack at the senior job at some point in the future to link up with the players he led to All-Ireland minor titles in 2014 and 2015.

But the Dromid Pearses man has just committed to two years with the U20s from next year so 2020 would be the earliest he could be expected to return to the hot seat.

Pat O’Shea and Peter Keane are other names that have been bandied about but neither would be an obvious improvement on the current incumbent.

Sean O’Shea Kerry prospect Sean O'Shea Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Ó Sé says Fitzmaurice’s deal should be extended so he can start blooding some of the youngsters who have blossomed at underage level in recent times. Sean O’Shea, David Clifford, Brian Ó Beaglaoich, Jason Foley and Tom O’Sullivan are some of the players who will hope to enjoy significant game-time next spring.

“You’ve to give it time,” continues Ó Sé. ”Eamonn will need time with these Kerry minor teams. He has one year left on his contract and I think they should extend it.

“He’ll come back stronger. Kerry have been very successful underage winning the last three minors but there’s a huge gulf between U18 making it at senior level. That’s not going to happen overnight. We need to be a bit patient.

“I’ve played under him and his attention to detail with everything…that’s coming from a fella who he dropped in 2014 and was ruthless enough in dropping me. I’d still have great time and respect for him the way he goes about his business.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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