Defeat by Mayo in Sunday’s Allianz League football final may “not turn out to be a bad thing” for Kerry, in the view of county board chairman Tim Murphy, who has praised new manager Peter Keane’s “outstanding” start in charge.
“Peter and his management team have been outstanding in my opinion,” said Murphy. “It is a fantastic start for them and they have left no stone unturned with the players, both on the field and in the training and preparation of the team. The amount of time and work they have done is second to none. I firmly believe we are now at the start of a great and exciting era for Kerry football.
“He looked objectively at all the players and got a great response.
"Overall, it has been a very successful league campaign for Peter and the players and there is a great buzz in the camp.
“Peter set out to give every player who he thought was capable of making the step up to senior inter-county football a chance and he wanted to know what he had, were they good enough, and he used the league to try and get the shape of things to come in his mind.
"In that regard, the league has been a huge success and though Kerry went out on Sunday to win the final, maybe in hindsight losing will not turn out to be a bad thing down the road. That is because lads like David Clifford and Sean O’Shea have never lost in Croke Park, so they will probably take more from this than if they had won. I think, with so many young players playing in Croke Park on Sunday against a battle- hardened Mayo side and only coming up short in the final minutes, [it] has to stand to these players in the future.
“Peter Keane, to be fair to him, gave a lot of players the chance to see were they up to or ready to play at the highest level of inter-county football and where better to test a player than in the cauldron of Croke Park against Mayo and that was a huge bonus for Kerry, regardless of the result.
“That game was ideal to get players ready for what to expect in the white heat of battle during championship later on in the summer.”
While there is disappointment at the Croke Park defeat, Murphy believes the Kerry public are ready to show patience with their young team.
“I sense a definite mood change in the county, because they can see emerging talent coming through and that is exciting. They have also seen Kerry being involved in some of the best games in the League. Kerry and Dublin in Tralee was special and the two games against Mayo provided some great fare for supporters.
“I cannot emphasise enough that the future looks very bright, but as is always the case when you go into battle with youth, they may sometimes have to succumb to experience, but in order to gain experience themselves, they must be going toe-to-toe with the best. Kerry’s day will come and it’s not very far away.”