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Ó Sé: ‘I’m very disappointed with the way Kerry set-up, I think we’re better than that’

Peter Keane’s defensive system backfired for Kerry yesterday.

A devastated David Clifford after the game.
A devastated David Clifford after the game.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

MARC Ó SÉ was critical of the style of football employed by Peter Keane in Kerry’s shock Munster semi-final defeat to Cork yesterday.

Keane went with a defensive approach, introducing Brian Ó Beaglaoich as a late replacement for Stephen O’Brien on the half-forward line.

Ultimately the Kingdom paid a heavy price for their caution as Cork sealed a first championship victory in eight years over their dearest rivals following Mark Keane’s dramatic late intervention in extra-time.

“I am very disappointed with the Kerry style of play. It’s not attractive to be honest with you,” said Ó Sé on the latest edition of The42 GAA Weekly.

“The big question I have really is does he trust his defenders? I’m not so sure.

“You look at the Kerry forwards, I’m talking about match winners. This is why I thought Kerry would win the game, you’re talking about David Clifford, Tony Brosnan, Seanie O’Shea, Stephen O’Brien who albeit didn’t start but came in.

“Killian Spillane came in and had an outstanding game. You look at the style of football. My own clubmate Brian Ó Beaglaoich, who’s a defender and played full-back in the 2014 All-Ireland minor final, was playing wing-forward. It’s a new system Kerry were playing that’s not attractive at all.

“To be honest with you, It’s not the Kerry way. Kerry have always been known for their traditional style of football, attractive football that you kick the ball, the ball would be moved at all times into players, creative players that can get scores and cause damage to defences. That’s something today that wasn’t there. David Clifford was deprived of early ball into him.

“Clifford was inside on his own 60 yards of space in front of him calling for the ball.

“I’d say he was looking for any type of ball to be kicked in and unfortunately it wasn’t I’m very disappointed with the way Kerry set-up, I think we’re better than that and in hindsight, I think if Peter had it all over again he’d change things up.”

While Ó Sé didn’t feel Keane was complacent coming into the game, he speculated that the Kerry players “could have possibly taken their eye off the ball.”

He continued: “Possibly looking at their body language by some of the players during the game, it’s certainly something that I saw and was worried about. Even their body language when they came out at extra-time, looking at Cork they were so revved up.

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“Kerry weren’t as revved up as Cork, maybe that’s something Cork fed on. I wouldn’t say Peter Keane was complacent but it’s a very hard thing to do as players is block that out, how are you going to go towards this game, ‘Ah sure it’s only a game we have to show up, we’ve one hand on the cup here.’ 

“Possibly some of the players by their body language would have suggested they were complacent.

“Cork were far hungrier than Kerry. They went after the game, they wanted it more than Kerry. You come out of this game and say Cork are a hungry shower, they really went after it.”

Writing in his newspaper column before the game, Pat Spillane said he didn’t “give Cork a prayer” but the Rebels made a mockery of that prediction.

“There’s no doubt that Spillane played right into Cork’s barrow,” remarked Ó Sé. “Pat tries to stay relevant, he tries to sensationalise things. Killian Spillane was one of the outstanding players for Kerry today, he really stood up and he’s shown leadership.

“I was impressed with him in the All-Ireland last year, the goal he got, the way he was able to clinically put that ball beyond [Stephen] Cluxton – phenomenal stuff.

“I remember him as a Kerry minor and Pat coming out saying he was the best minor he’s seen in years and the best minor in Ireland so he was basically putting a bulls-eye on the back of his jersey.

“That has in no way hindered the young lad but from a journalistic point of view Pat just see himself putting his slant on it and he sensationalises things maybe and keeps the whole thing relevant.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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