Former Kerry footballer, Aidan O’Mahony, has taken umbrage with Sean Cavanagh’s comments regarding the current state of Kerry football on last week’s edition of The Sunday Game.
The three-time All-Ireland winning Tyrone player claimed that if Kerry were competing in any other province bar Munster that they wouldn’t qualify for the Super 8s.
O’Mahony feels that Cavanagh was just looking for a headline when assessing this current Kerry side.
“I don’t believe what Sean said at all,” said the Paddy Power News columnist.
“Tyrone haven’t set the Championship alight either have they? Kerry were in a National League final on merit. I reckon Sean might be looking for a few headlines putting out a quote like that if I’m honest.
“Kerry won’t be reading too much into that either. Even if Kerry were a bit poor against Cork, they are still winning. It’s an utter throwaway comment from Sean. I wouldn’t give it a second thought anyway, it was a bit silly. Whatever province you put Kerry in, they’d get to the final.”
Kerry were pushed to the pin of their collar on Saturday night in their Munster final meeting with Cork eventually coming away with a three-point win. It was a result that surprised most given Kerry’s early season form that saw them reach the Allianz League final while Cork’s abysmal campaign saw them relegated to Division 3.
However, the five-time All-Ireland winner believes that Cork putting it up to Kerry is the least we should expect from one of Gaelic football’s premier counties.
“I’ve been saying all year that we needed to see that ‘Corkness’ back in Cork. Analysts and pundit were saying ‘it’s great to see Cork back’, but that’s the least we should expect of Cork, to be honest. They are supposed to be a top tier team and they have to get back up there. This can’t be a one-off performance from them just because they were written off by everyone.
“They use the running game and teams find that very hard to defend against because Cork just maraud forward from everywhere. It’s hard for the defending team in that scenario because attackers are just coming from every angle and it makes you unsure of who to pick up. If these players aren’t stopped further back the pitch then your backs are in trouble.
“One Cork player I have to pick out was Ruairi Deane, he’s without doubt Cork’s best player. There’s just something I always like about him. I played against him in a challenge match for Rathmore when he was in Tralee IT and I liked what I saw. There was a bit of fight in the belly with him and the sight of a Kerry jersey in front of him makes him grow 10 feet tall.”
The Rathmore man was happy with how Kerry reacted to the Paul Geaney sending-off which came at a horrible time considering that Cork were in the ascendency.
O’Mahony was happy with how Kerry outscored their Rebel rivals in the closing stages despite being a man down. He believes Geaney’s red card was a harsh decision and further proof that Gaelic football has moved to such a pace now that we need two referees so it can be properly officiated.
“I thought it was very harsh, but it was great to see Kerry perform after that. A lot of people were getting worried when Paul was sent off because Cork were coming right into the game.
“The Kerry lads really stood up when they needed to. A lot of people were giving out about the referee, and goodness knows I’ve had enough run-ins with them, but they seem to leave a lot of frees go nowadays. The advantage is all over the shop too. The pace of the game is gone too high for one ref on the pitch. A ball can be kicked 60 yards and they end up a mile behind the play.
“The day has come to bring in two referees into our game. Munster GAA and the GAA in general, have plenty of money in the coffers to do it. Why not splash out on it! It’s very simple, what would be the issue with having a second ref on the pitch? Have them pick up the play from either 65 into the goals. It’s a no-brainer for me.”