Kerry defender, Paul Murphy, insists his county cannot dwell on the lack of competition in the Munster Championship as they prepare for the Allianz League Division 1 final against Mayo.
In a huge blow to the province, both Tipperary and Cork were relegated to Division 3 of the Allianz Football League while Clare were left clinging on to their Division 2 status.
Cork secured an impressive win over Armagh in the final round of games last weekend but the result in Semple Stadium, where Tipperary lost out to Clare in an intriguing battle, meant that Ronan McCarthy’s side were relegated alongside the Premier County.
Kerry are on the hunt for their seventh title in a row, with suggestions that a lack of competition within the province is hindering the county when they move onto the All Ireland series.
Murphy, who has been captaining the Kerry side through their League campaign, maintains that the Kingdom cannot use that as an excuse, although he laments the other counties’ demise.
“We can’t really spend too much time about who we’ll be playing until the couple of weeks before the game. It’s not something you can do much about.
“From a Munster point of view, it’s disappointing to see Tipp and Cork going down. Cork had a good win away to Armagh but the results went against them. They were unfortunate from that point of view but they’d left themselves too much to do in their last game. From a Munster football point of view, it’s not ideal.”
Before they can turn their attention to their championship campaign, Kerry must first get over the League final against Mayo on Sunday in Croke Park. The atmosphere surrounding the team has significantly improved since they last featured in GAA HQ when Galway recorded their first championship win over the Kingdom in 53 years during a drab affair.
A draw in Clones the following week was not enough to prevent Kerry from crashing out of the Super 8s competition prematurely and while that was a very low point for the side, matters are much brighter now since the introduction of Peter Keane and a successful League campaign.
Murphy is thankful that the negativity surrounding the team is lifting and fans are happy again.
“Things were very negative at the end of last year. To finish up at the start of August was very disappointing for the panel and the public.
“Look, it’s understandable that the mood is going to be much better when you’re winning compared to last year when we lost to Galway and were up against it then with a very tough trip to Clones.
“We got a draw and it was out of our hands at that stage and there was a bit of negative talk. Thankfully now things are looking up again and people are seeing the bright side of things again.
“If you win games in Kerry, things will generally be quite positive. We’ve had very good support this year in the league.
“We’ve had vocal support at the home games. There’s always a good core of Kerry supporters who will go to every game – away league games, away championship games. Since I started playing, there’s a good bond there, a good spirit there.”