JACK O'Connor has not yet ruled Bryan Sheehan out of Sunday's trip to Páirc Uí Chaoimh despite reports that the Kerry All Star midfielder would miss out on their Munster SFC clash with Cork due to a knee injury, writes Conor McKeon.
Sheehan, Kerry's free-taker, has missed training recently because of the knock but noises emanating from Kingdom suggest he has a chance of playing some part against their arch-rivals.
O'Connor, meanwhile, has insisted that the looming clash has not lost its relevance for Kerry. "You see every one of these games as a big game because, if you lose it, psychologically, it can be damaging. That's the big danger," he admitted.
O'Connor acknowledged, however, that his team have in the past recovered from early-summer losses to Cork only to go on an win the All-Ireland in both 2006 and '09 but says the process is daunting.
"It can be a long road back because players can starting doubting themselves and supporters can start doubting you, and then it can snowball," he insisted. "I'd much prefer to win games like this."
Meanwhile, Cork full-back Eoin Cadogan has warned referees to expect defenders to robustly protect their 'keepers from towering full-forward incursions into the square caused by the removal of the square ball rule.
"If they are going to leave big men, full-forwards like Aidan Walsh and Kieran Donaghy, into the square, referees are going to have to realise that full-backs, corner-backs, are going to do everything they can to keep them out," the dual player insisted.
"If you are going to allow a fella into the square on top of the goalie you are going to have to realise that the back has to do everything in his power to protect his goalie."