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Ó Sé and O'Sullivan dismiss 'bullsh*t' rumours of player heave against Kerry boss Keane

The Kingdom legends wrote off the speculation as idle gossip.

Kerry boss Peter Keane before the Munster semi-final against Cork.
Kerry boss Peter Keane before the Munster semi-final against Cork.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Updated Nov 30th 2020, 5:10 PM

SOCIAL MEDIA RUMOURS of a mutiny in the Kerry camp have been dismissed by former players Marc Ó Sé and Darran O’Sullivan as ‘absolute nonsense’ and ‘bullshit’.

A Whatsapp message that flew around last week suggested that the players were making a move against manager Peter Keane in the wake of their shock Munster semi-final defeat to Cork.

But speaking on the latest episode of The42′s GAA Weekly, Ó Sé said the reports were wide of the mark.

“Whatever about the county board and Peter Keane, I don’t know what’s going on there, but what I can shed light on is that it’s absolute nonsense that there’s hassle between Peter Keane and the players,” said the five-time All-Ireland winner.

“I know that for a fact. There’s absolutely no hassle in the camp there. Look, these young fellas they played under Peter Keane. They won five All-Ireland minors in-a-row and Peter was in charge for three-in-a-row. So I know for a fact there’s no mutiny in the camp with Peter.”

O’Sullivan, who retired at the end of 2018, admitted he initially believed the rumours before seeing sense.

“When I heard the rumours initially, I was cross myself,” he said at the launch of AIB’s The Toughest Season photobook.

“I was there going, ‘They don’t want to be going down this route’. Then I heard the names mentioned, and obviously Paul [Geaney]‘s named was and straight away I was going, ‘No, this is all bullshit’. I know these fellas and it’s not their style.

“It comes with the territory. When you have no games to talk about, there’s going to be rumours because we have nothing else to do.” 

Over the weekend Kerry forward Geaney made his position known with a tweet that rubbished the reports as “fake news”.

“The players will be hurting more than anyone after the Cork game,” continued O’Sullivan.

“At the end of the day, they just didn’t perform. It was a one-off, they didn’t perform and they will want to put it right.

“But the way the rumours go, we could start one right here and now. I could tell you I’m going taking the U20 job and Gooch [Colm Cooper] is my selector and [Kieran] Donaghy is my physio – all you’ve to do is pass it onto one person and then they’ll pass it on again.

“It’s the way of the world, everyone loves a story, a bit of gossip but unfortunately for the Kerry lads because there’s no football to talk about, they have to deal with it. It’s not ideal. I do think there will be big disappointment, they need to change a few bits and pieces.

“There is never a dull moment down here. Since the defeat to Cork it has been doom and gloom really which you’d expect. It is just one of those things, I think they got caught on the day. I genuinely believe it was a massive opportunity missed this year.”

Ó Sé recalled a time when his older brother Darragh fell victim to the rumour mill during their playing days.

“I’ll never forget in 2006 we lost to Cork below in Pairc Ui Chaoimh and we went back to Killarney that night and went on the lash,” he began.

“The rumour the following day was that Darragh decked Jack O’Connor with a belt the night before and that was absolute nonsense. We just went on the lash and had a few pints, we were all there.

“These stories, I don’t know where [they come from]. I actually reckon there’s somebody making money out this, he makes up these yarns and says it. I know for a fact there’s no mutiny between the players and Peter Keane.

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“If there’s something going on with the county board and Peter Keane that’s another issue, I’ve no idea about that. But when you lose games there’s people around the place the stories don’t be long gathering traction and escalating.” 

While O’Sullivan believes Keane remains the man to bring Kerry forward – “I don’t see how one defeat changes that” – he says Donie Buckley’s exit might have affected the team more than was expected.

aib-the-toughest-season-book-launch Darran O’Sullivan at the launch of AIB’s The Toughest Season photobook. Source: SPORTSFILE

The former Mayo coach departed the set-up in March and Keane is likely to bring on board a replacement for next season.

“Donie is one of the best in the business at what he does, I suppose I was asked when he left was it going to be a big loss to Kerry. He is a loss, but I genuinely said the players will be fine, he is a loss, but these things happen. Who knows, maybe he was a bigger loss than I or other people anticipated. 

“You definitely need to have the best people around and he is one of the best people.”

O’Sullivan also believes adding a sports psychologist to the set-up would help them further.

“They have good people in there, but I just think it is about adding a bit more. I even think it is ticking the boxes away from the pitch.

“You are looking at the psychologists, stuff like that. It wouldn’t have been something I was into too much when I was playing, but it would be something I have got into in the latter stages of my career and since I retired.

“I’m probably more interested in it now. I do think it is an area that is neglected and where you can get an extra couple of percent.

“It is good to know going into a game that you are physically ready, but you are mentally ready for whatever comes. I believe that is where Dublin are ahead of everyone else.

“You do expect them to win games and they just do it. We don’t talk about it, don’t get excited by it, they just do it. That is a mental thing. They are mentally ready, they have a job to do.”

On Kerry’s prospects for 2021, O’Sullivan said: “I’ll say it straight out, I expect Kerry to be at the top table next year. They’ll be there and thereabouts. I still think they’re one of the top two or three in the country.

“I genuinely believe they got caught on the hop – just a bad day at the office. I’ll be open in saying that if Kerry played Cork 100 times, that game the last day is the only time they’d lose.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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