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Tuesday 14 August 2018

'You would stay away from the bars. It was cat stuff - Sheehy

Kerry selector Mikey Sheehy at yesterday’s 2018 Allianz Football League launch. Pic: Sportsfile
Kerry selector Mikey Sheehy at yesterday’s 2018 Allianz Football League launch. Pic: Sportsfile

Mikey Sheehy has labelled the Kerry support at last year's All-Ireland semi-final and subsequent replay with Mayo both "embarrassing" and "shocking".

Sheehy, one of Kerry's most celebrated footballers for his contribution to the county's glory era of the 1970s and '80s has been a selector since Éamonn Fitzmaurice assumed the role of manager in 2013.

Yesterday, he attended the launch of this year's Allianz Leagues and issued a withering assessment of his county's support.

"I felt the Kerry support were embarrassing, there were so few Kerry people there," he said, by way of contrasting the Kerry representation in the 66,195 and 53,032 crowds in Croke Park to that of Mayo at the two games in August of last year.

"I would have been very strong about that," he went on, "particularly for the replay, Jesus, they didn't travel, whether it was because it was a Saturday afternoon or not…

"Mayo, look how many times they have lost and you go outside and you see the crowd (they had)."

Sheehy's sentiments have been a recurring motif in Kerry in times of relative famine.

In late 2002, Paidí Ó Sé infamously described his county's footballing public as the "roughest type of f***ing animals you could ever deal with," after a harsh local reaction to Kerry losing that September's All-Ireland final to Armagh. Asked whether the squad itself would have been aware of the paucity of support Sheehy responded: "It does, of course the players would be aware of it.

Better

"But, I was definitely and we all would have been, players and management…

"That wasn't an excuse why we lost. We lost because we were beaten by a better team.

"But the support was shocking, shocking," he reiterated.

"No, we got it wrong on the day. Just hold up your hands. There's certain days. We got it totally wrong, not alone on the field but off the field and we just had to take the criticism for that.

"But if you were to take that too much to heart I wouldn't be involved now, but we took ferocious criticism too.

"Oh, my God, you couldn't...you'd stay away from the bars - oh you would. It was cat stuff.

"Then the thing that would annoy you at times, a lot of fellas who were giving flak were fellas who weren't even at the game. But look, as I said, that's part of the gig and you just accept it.

"We love Kerry football and we love football in general and we love being involved. If you take notice of those people you wouldn't be there.

"Look, they were there when I was playing and they're there as I'm involved in management and they will always be there."

Sheehy was also adamant that Dublin's recent superiority over Kerry hasn't had any scarring affect on the squad's psyche.

"If we were playing Dublin in the morning we would always fancy that we'd give them a rattle," he outlined.

"I thought the league final was a great game of football. High scoring game. Dean Rock … I think if it was a championship game he wouldn't have missed (the injury-time free)."

Of Dublin's late tactics in the All-Ireland final, Sheehy said he had "no issue," over their actions".

"Fair play to Dublin for what they did.

"They manhandled their players, kicked away the (kicking tee) - I would have no issue with players doing that once you win the game.

"Jim Gavin is a serious operator," continued the Austin Stacks clubman.

"In my eyes there's nobody will touch Micko.

"But if anybody was to touch him," Sheehy concluded, "Jim Gavin seems to be the man that could put him under a bit of pressure."

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