Peter Canavan has admitted that he was surprised to see calls for Peter Keane to step down as Kerry manager following the Kingdom’s loss to Tyrone.
Tyrone caused a great upset in their semi-final with a one-point win against Kerry, who were favoured to win their first All-Ireland football title since 2014 from early on this season.
The sides were neck-and-neck for the entire game, which went to extra-time, but a second goal from Tyrone’s Conor McKenna was ultimately enough to see the Ulster champions book their place in the final against Mayo.
Canavan was speaking on Sky Sports’ Inside The Game and argued that Kerry could have easily won their match against Tyrone, which in turn, would have seen Keane’s position as manager be in no doubt.
🟢🟡”Until this Kerry side win an All-Ireland, they will always be treated with suspicion by their own supporters…”
— Sky Sports GAA (@SkySportsGAA) September 4, 2021
Peter Canavan on Kerry supporters’ high expectations.
“Prior to the game there was nobody coming out and saying such things. The quality of their football this year, league and championship, has been very good,” Canavan started.
“Tyrone didn’t play brilliantly with the ball. Without it, yes the intensity in their tackling was something else. But likewise, a lot of Kerry’s play on Saturday was very good.
“If you look at so many of the stats, Kerry had the platform to win that game. They dominated a lot of Tyrone’s kick outs, they won all of their own kick outs, they had more possession, they had more shots, they had more goal attempts.
“The one area that let them down was work rate and turnovers. On another day, Kerry would have got over the line and there would have been nobody calling for Peter Keane’s head. So yes I’m somewhat surprised, but that’s Kerry. Expectations are very high.”
Tomás Ó Sé questioned the Kingdom’s current management team.
Kerry great Tomás Ó Sé was one of a number of high-profile figures who questioned whether Keane should remain in charge of the Kingdom.
Ó Sé was speaking on RTE’s Sunday Game and argued that Kerry’s triumphs in the Allianz League and Munster championship under Keane should not be viewed as a success for the county.
“Does management matter? I think it does. Look at Tyrone, for example, this year. Different management came in with a different style of play and they tweaked a few things and reinvigorated players,” Ó Sé said.
“You take Seán O’Shea and David Clifford out of that team and their 16 points [against Tyrone] – what else did they give after that? Has the team come on from where they were?
“Is this team capable of winning [an All-Ireland]? Yes, I think this team is capable of winning an All-Ireland. Do I think the current management can bring them there? I don’t think so.”