Bryan Sheehan has defended Kerry’s shocking performance last weekend: “Every team has an off day…they can right this wrong straightaway…there is a gun to their head, they have to win.”
With 5 All-Ireland senior medals under his belt, the recently retired Cahersiveen native admits he’d be rearing to take on Monaghan in this weekend’s SFC quarter-final in Clones this weekend.
And he strongly disagrees with the sentiment that there’s no comparison between the current Kerry squad and that of 2017.
Q&A with Bryan Sheehan:
Paddy Power News: Kerry looked very flat last weekend. Do you think it was a hindrance to them that they didn’t get a decent game over the course of their Munster campaign?
Bryan Sheehan: They really weren’t primed going into Croke Park while Galway had a good game against Mayo and another tough encounter against Roscommon. There was an awful lot of talk about how good Kerry were against Cork and I said it at the time that I didn’t think we should be reading too much into it.
You do need competitive games and this is where I think the super 8s will really benefit Kerry. They get another opportunity next week to get things right. While they may have been beaten, I think Sunday’s game will stand to them, especially given the age profile of the team. It’s a young team and it was their first outing in Croke Park so it will be a massive learning curve for them over the course of the Super 8s.
Dick Clerkin wrote that Kerry are going backwards, would you agree with that?
It’s hard to say that they’ve gone backwards because it’s a brand-new team. There were a lot of debutants against Clare. Before the weekend’s game you’d have said that Kerry are playing fantastic football and they’re much better than last year. But you’re only as good as your last game in a lot of people’s eyes so suddenly, you’re back to square one.
Are they worse than last year? I honestly don’t think so. I think it was a bad outing on a day, they came up against a good, well drilled Galway side who in fairness to them had they’re tactics spot on. They knew Kerry wanted to play a quick game and Galway didn’t let them. They slowed it down as much as they could and played the game on their terms. And playing in Croke Park on a wet day is like playing with a bar of soap, it’s extremely difficult to get a foot in, to hold ball.
It is early days yet. Every team has an off day and I’ll think we’ll learn a lot more about them when they go to Clones but I don’t think they’ve gone backwards this year.
They do have a young team, did inexperience play a part in the loss?
There’s been a lot of talk about this young Kerry team and after they put in two fantastic performances in Munster the confidence might’ve been high. These young fellas wouldn’t have experienced games like last Sunday before so it will be a massive learning curve for them.
Did they believe the hype? Only they can answer that one. But the only way you’re going to learn is playing games like the last day and learning from defeat. I guarantee that the next time they’re in a position of coming into a game on the back of a comprehensive win they won’t be getting carried away with things.
They know now what level is required, they’re playing in the super 8s and they’re playing against the top teams in Division 1 and that experience though humbling will really really stand to them.
How do you think they’ll fare in Clones?
Honestly, I think from having been inside that dressing room with all these players, I only retired less than 12 months ago, and knowing the guys inside there and their character that there’s going to be a massive, massive performance out of Kerry next week in Clones. There’s no doubt in my mind about that.
There’s a lot of pride in those players, things didn’t go right for them last Sunday and they’ll be disappointed. Having the opportunity to come back one week later is massive. You don’t get that kind of opportunity to often.
They can right a wrong almost right away. To a certain degree there is a gun to their head, they have to win. Going up to Clones will not be easy. It’s going to be a war of attrition. Monaghan have a fantastic record above there and they’ll have their tails up after beating Kildare. They’ll know that one more win will see them through. But if I was still in that dressing room I know that I would be so looking forward to next Sunday above in Clones. It’s going to be a hell of a game.
Lastly, what are your thoughts on Galway? Would you say they’re All Ireland contenders?
It’s hard to say because the game itself was poor. Kerry’s performance was poor and Galway’s was just a little bit better to be honest with you. They still have a bit more to do for me before we can look at them as contenders. They have a massive game above in Newbridge against Kildare. Kildare will be massively up for it so it should be a huge test for them. For more see: news.paddypower.com