“They’re not travelling together in cars, they’re not meeting up for food afterwards together, they’re not having the banter inside in dressing-rooms together after, all that is gone.”
Tomas O’Se feels that playing inter-county Gaelic football during a pandemic would be a boring experience. The former Kerry star remarked how a lot of the enjoyable off-field activities have been taken away by covid.
Tyrone travel to face Kerry in the league semi-final and O’Se thinks that that game could have been moved to a different venue, as the journey from Tyrone’s home ground in Healy Park, Omagh, to Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney, takes over five hours to complete.
O’Se stated that the leagues were set up on a regional basis to avoid these types of scenarios so he believes that it is hypocritical to make Tyrone travel to Kerry for a league match.
Tyrone have not beaten Kerry in a knock-out game since 2008.
“It’s just conflicting, like, I don’t know. I’m teaching, you see it from school, there are still cases around the place,” O’Se said.
“The place is opening up and it’s great to see it opening up and I think it is tough, I think it’s hard, like.
“The hotels are opening up and they will be open so it won’t be an issue that they won’t be able to stay or whatnot but still, the whole league – like, if it’s Championship and you set it up that way it’s fine but you set up the league with two separate divisions geographically to make sure that none of this happens.
“Like it or lump it, I’ve gone up to Tyrone or Donegal and you have to face work the following day and then when you see other teams tossing and travelling halfway – I don’t know, I don’t think it looks good. Antrim travelling as far as Waterford as well, it’s tough.
Tomas O’Se thinks that the game could have been played at a neutral ground.
“I wouldn’t see any issue in playing it halfway. I think it’s been very hard, I think it’s been underestimated how difficult it is logistically for teams to travel. Limerick travelled to Wicklow.”
“It would be interesting to see from a players’ point of view, what has gone out of it because half of what actually gives players energy is the buzz around the social side of it.
“People say the social side of it has gone out of it (pre-Covid) but jeez, I can only imagine what they’re going through now. They’re not travelling together in cars, they’re not meeting up for food afterwards together, they’re not having the banter inside in dressing-rooms together after, all that is gone.
“Whatever they say about it being a boring game, it must be a very boring game at the moment. I think that’s where it’s hard for players.
“I definitely think in the current condition, it’s not a huge ask, they’ll do it and there’ll be no complaining about it. It was done last year, Fermanagh travelled with a weakened team down as far as Clare.
“But I do think that when you see it happening other places, that they’re going halfway and when you see it that the whole league was based on where you were in the country (geographically) and then to flip it for the last round of it, I don’t know, I think it’s a bit Irish to be honest with you.”
Tomas O’Se pleased with Kerry spirit against Dublin.
O’Se felt that Kerry coming back from seven points down to claim a draw against Dublin was a big statement from Peter Keane’s side, though he admitted that there will still be question marks over this Kerry team until they win an All-Ireland.
Clare face Kerry in the Munster championship and the former Nemo Rangers player thinks that Clare will go into that game with no fear of the Kingdom.
“It definitely was (a statement) and they had chances to win and lose it. You have to look at the balance of the whole game and it is hard to trust them (Kerry) at times is what I am saying,” he said.
“It is hard to trust Kerry, you go up against Clare and people will probably look at this as a yerrah comment but the reason Kerry did not really lose in our time anyway is that you could ignore the talk outside. You take the game so seriously that you would be going up there with a bit of fear that if you did lose what would happen and the backlash that would be there, but I don’t think there is the same fear about this Kerry team.”
Cork beat Kerry in the 2020 Munster championship.
“You could still ask questions about them and you can’t trust them to actually blow certain teams that they should be blowing out of the water, or beating them convincingly.
“Like, Clare will fancy having a good rattle at Kerry and I am not saying that is not right, it is right but when you see what happened to Kerry against Cork last year and see what happened against Dublin in the league and even when Kerry had the foot in the door against Dublin in the drawn All-Ireland final and how they could not finish it off, with the Kerry management and players there would be question marks still.
“That is the downside. Those questions won’t be answered until one thing happens and that is the downside of the scrutiny that is on them.”
O’Se retired from inter-county football at the end of the 2013 season and won five All-Ireland titles throughout his Kerry career.