In a hard-hitting critique of Brian Cuthbert’s side, Ó Sé says they appear “rudderless” both on the sideline and on the field.
Now playing with Nemo Rangers, the five-time All-Ireland winner argues they have talent, but has no qualms in arguing that Cork learned nothing from beating Clare on Sunday and will be in “disarray” if Kerry rattle them early in Fitzgerald Stadium.
“They don’t seem to perform when they are questions and this team needs a big performance when they are under pressure.”
He also remarked: “Put it like this - if Eamonn Fitzmaurice was in charge of Cork, I think you’d have a different Cork team.”
But he questions Cork’s direction on the field too: “I think one big win for Cork could bring them on a lot. But those losses, Pearse O’Neill, (Graham) Canty, robbed them not only of big physical men but robbed them of their leaders. They seem like a team rudderless enough to be fair, from management down.
“They seem like a poor relation of Mayo in that you can’t trust Mayo, but you can’t trust Cork either. That’s not playing games, it’s just calling it as I see it. They just seem like a team if you get on top of them very, very early, they’ve no plan B and they’ll just lie down.” Referencing their heavy defeats to Kerry 11 months ago and Dublin in this year’s Division 1 final, Ó Sé wonders just how much they’ve learned.
“You see the great teams there over the last few years, if Tyrone were losing against Dublin, and losing badly, they’d start a row or they’d start something to get back into it. We’d do the same. You show something like.
“But there was nothing there with Cork and that’s the worry I’d have for them. I just think on the field, they need fellas to stand up more and give more leadership. I think they still have a dangerous forward line. They’re after bringing back Alan O’Connor, they’re after chopping and changing. They’d (Eoin) Cadogan and Fintan Goold at midfield for the full league and then they’re suddenly gone.
“It’s kind of putting questions into players’ minds. What frame of mind would Fintan Goold be coming into the game or even preparing for the game?”
Ó Sé also says there are individuals attempting to influence referees against Kerry. Last week, Eamonn Fitzmaurice claimed there was a campaign to paint Kerry as a cynical team. Joe Brolly claims they’re the most cynical outfit in the country.
“I think there’s been a bit of gamesmanship and fellas trying to twist refs and put pressure on them before games,” comments Ó Sé.
“The way the modern game is going if you rewind 10 years ago the amount of tackling that was being done was zero and nowadays half the training sessions are on tackling and it’s the one area where refs have desperate problems with it, players have desperate problems with it and there’s a lot of fouling.
“We still can’t define a proper tackle, we don’t know what a proper tackle is. Players are going out and putting in hands in desperation. Every game the tackle count is ridiculous. Is there a campaign against Kerry? I don’t think Kerry are paying too much attention to that and hopefully the refs are strong enough not to pay attention to it either.”
Ó Sé laments the lack of high quality referees. “There’s always sort of this divide between players and refs. Refs should be allowed into dressing rooms before games and give them a general chat and what he’s going to focus in on. I think there’s this ‘us against them’ kind of thing and sideline men, umpires... I don’t know what’s going on, like. I think we can tighten up a lot on that; it’s always on the ref.
“This (past) weekend, I thought the refs were excellent. I don’t think there were issues with anything. They were all fair enough. The problems with refs is consistency. You have three or four refs who talk to players and are consistently good but then there are other refs and I don’t think they are good, like.” He would like to see match officials work more as a team.
“Sideline men, they come in a bit but sometimes refs look at umpires and they’re looking at each other. They’re looking for some fella to say something. Sometimes umpires see a lot of what’s going on and don’t call it.
“To be fair, this f***king picture of a ref heading off on a Sunday and carrying his four buddies with him, the umpires, and they’re having a day out kind of thing. That’s not the case with all but I still think there’s a case of that.”
Eircom GAA ambassador Tomás Ó Sé was speaking at the company’s “Shout from the Rooftop” launch, where fans are encouraged to cheer on their county online at www.eircom.ie/gaa