Despite the huge promise following their League victory, Kerry failed to back it up this summer as they exited the Championship at the semi-final stage after a loss to Mayo.
The Kingdom must now lick their wounds following a disappointing summer, as manager Éamonn Fitzmaurice attempts to strike a right balance for 2018.
Former Kerry star Marc Ó Sé was the first to acknowledge that the performances were not up to scratch this year.
“At the end of the day, I just don’t think we were good enough. If you look at different areas around the field. Certainly, there were mistakes made on the day, there’s no doubt about that.
“I thought there were areas around the team that we were possibly exposed; our full back line, our half forward line, there were other areas [too]. I think if we can find two or three players.”
There is a conundrum as to the amount of underage talent to be brought through, as the county chase their fourth consecutive All-Ireland minor title next week. While it is a tricky task, Ó Sé believes that Fitzmaurice is the right man for the job.
“There’s no doubt that he’s the best manager there to do the job.
“I think he’ll come back stronger. He needs to be given time. Obviously Kerry have been very successful underage, winning the last three minors.
“There is a huge gulf at u18 to coming through to senior level. That’s not going to happen overnight. I think we need to be patient.
“People are quick to write him off. These are the same fellas who don’t go to the matches and wait until the final.”
However, perhaps the expectation is a case of Kerry being victims of their own success.
“I think we have it too good. That’s been the case going back. In 1981, Kerry played three games – they got a bye to the Munster final, All-Ireland semi-final. All-Ireland final. If they heard that up north, they’d go crazy!
“It has to change. We are high achievers, and that can be a great thing too.”
Ultimately, Ó Sé has the height of respect for Fitzmaurice, and thinks he is the best man to bring Sam Maguire back to the Kingdom in the coming years.
“Éamonn has one more year left on his contract, and I think they should extend it. I’ve played under him. His attention to detail with everything… That’s coming from a fella who he dropped in 2014 and he was ruthless enough in dropping me. I still have great time for him and great respect for him.”
Make sure to check out the latest episode of The 16th Man, as we hear from Mícheal Donoghue and Derek McGrath and we reflect on the All-Ireland final.