Ó Sé ready to spring an earlier return

Thu, Feb 7, 2013, 00:00

Nothing much is won or lost in early February, but that's not saying there isn't a sudden sense of urgency within Kerry football going into Sunday's league showdown against Dublin.

Indeed it has prompted Tomás Ó Sé to reconsider "easing" himself back into it, having initially intended to sit out Kerry's opening games, then return after the mini-break that falls between rounds two and three.

Now, Dublin in Killarney this Sunday may be impossible - or impractical - to resist.

Ó Sé didn't travel with Kerry to Castlebar last Sunday, and, some might say, lucky for him: Mayo handed Kerry something of a football lesson, not just running out six-point winners, but holding Kerry scoreless for the entire second half, something Ó Sé himself never experienced on the field of play.

Realised soon enough

But he did watch it on TV - and realised soon enough Kerry could probably do with him this Sunday.

At 34, and having made his senior debut back in 1998, Ó Sé had sat down with new manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice late last year, and agreed he'd come back at his own pace, and that when he did the commitment would be as immense as always.

"Well I'm back, alright, anyway," he says. "I've been training away the last couple of weeks, but the plan really was to be easing back into it, maybe sit out these first two games. There is the three-week break after round two, and that was the plan, to really come back full tilt after that.

"That might have changed a little now, I don't know. There may be some part for me to play on Sunday, but we'll wait and see later in the week, maybe."

What is certain is Ó Sé intends giving the 2013 season his best effort, possibly because it may well be his last one. The mind can't afford to think about retirement until the time actually comes, but he realises too the curtain is starting to draw.

Full effort

"All I said was I'd give it the full effort again this year. I'm not getting any younger, that's for sure, so it might well be my last year, it's hard to know.

"But it is going to be a big effort again this year, definitely. I'm going to give it my all."

Fitzmaurice hasn't disguised his relief that Ó Sé did commit for another year, and with that use his vast experience to help ease the transition of the newer players into the senior panel. But then this works both ways, Ó Sé appreciating the fact he is still wanted.

"And I like the bit of freshness that's there, the different voice, and all that. There is a good spirit at training, and we're feeling good.

"Look, last Sunday was very disappointing, there's no doubt about that. But at the same time it's still very early in the year, players are working very hard, and the feeling is we are going to get better.

"So we wouldn't be reading too deeply into that result. Not scoring in the second half, now that is something we can't be happy about, and again, the players know they'll have to work a lot harder on Sunday."

Whether he actually features against Dublin, either from the bench or from the start, Ó Sé is not viewing Sunday's game as some sort of make or break scenario for Kerry, nor does he even think last Sunday was just some sort or blip.

"No, I wouldn't really call it a blip. Look, we've been here before, and I wouldn't be getting too bogged down by the result.

"The reality is we are down eight or nine bodies, and I think training-wise and preparation-wise we are where we want to be, and are working hard on our fitness. So I would be losing sleep just yet.

Big games

"The problem is we do have some very big games coming up, not just against Dublin, but then away to Kildare, and Donegal, and then away again at the end of it all against Tyrone, who are looking good again too. So there's going to be no such thing as an easy game from here on, and that's something we have to be aware of too.

"It's going to be tough, but I still we have the experience to get us through."

Kerry are still without Paul Galvin, Declan O'Sullivan, Kieran Donaghy, and the Dr Crokes players, but there's still nothing like the sight of the Dublin jersey to bring out the best in whatever Kerry players do take to the field.

"Ah, yeah, there is still something magical about Kerry playing Dublin," says Ó Sé, with a smile. "It's always been there, and I still feel it anyway.

"Dublin are going well, very well, seem to be getting a lot out of the players, and bringing players through, so this one is going to be very tough."

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