O'Sé eases into captaincy role

Very little seems to phase Tomas O'Sé. A four-time GAA All-Ireland SFC winner with Kerry, the holder of three All-Star awards and another player off that famous O'Sé footballing conveyor belt.

Very little seems to phase Tomas O'Sé. A four-time GAA All-Ireland SFC winner with Kerry, the holder of three All-Star awards and another player off that famous O'Sé footballing conveyor belt.

Despite the collection of individual and team honours, O'Sé seems to come back each year almost more driven than before.

His form typified by those trademark thrusts forward to set up or score vital points for the green and gold.

Hard to believe it, but the An Ghaeltacht clubman has been on the senior inter-county scene for the past ten years.

1998 saw him make his debut for the Kerry seniors against Cork, as well as collecting an All-Ireland Under-21 winner's medal.

So when Kerry manager Pat O'Shea needed someone to stand in for the suspended Paul Galvin recently as Kerry captain, O Se was the obvious candidate.

The 28-year-old showed his leadership qualities in both the Munster final against Cork and last week's qualifier clash with Monaghan.

And despite the added responsilibity, being captain is something the half-back took in his stride.

"Yerra, it doesn't really bother me. There's plenty of talkers in the dressing room," he said of his temporary role.

"As far as I'm concerned I just go up and do the toss. There's a lot of fellas that talk, there's no one fella that does it, it's no big deal at all."

O'Sé has a better perspective than most on the Paul Galvin incident, which has given Kerry football some unwanted headlines this summer.

Galvin gained an initial six-month suspension for knocking referee Paddy Russell's notebook out of his hand after the Tipperary official had sent him off during Kerry's June win over Clare.

O'Sé stepped in to try and calm matters after the notebook incident and Galvin's remonstrating with a linesman, but he ended up being pushed by his own team-mate.

Looking back at the incident and the subsequent halving of Galvin's ban to three months, O'Sé said: "I'd be great mates with Paul. It is done and dusted. Paul was well entitled to follow it up the way he did (with the appeals).

"I think it dragged on too long. It went on nearly two months. I thought that was ridiculous for an end result.

"Paul would be the first to admit that he was wrong. When Paul was gone, it was like having an injured player, do you know?"

Despite the possibility of lifting the Sam Maguire Cup himself if Kerry succeed in their GAA SFC All-Ireland three in-a-row bid, O'Sé remains hopeful that Galvin, whose ban runs out before the final, will be back to skipper Kerry should they make it that far.

"It was supposed to be a big year for Paul as the captain. It hasn't worked out his way but we'll see how it ends up," he insisted.

"Hopefully it'll be a long year yet and it would be great to see him back at some stage. It's a very long way off yet."

The All-Ireland quest will continue for O'Sé and company this Saturday when they take on Galway in a mouth-watering quarter-final.

The sides have already met this season. Back in Salthill in April, Bryan Sheehan scored eight points to guide Kerry to a 0-15 and 0-10 win over Galway and into the National League Division 1 final.

Midfield will be a vital area when the two heavyweights collide this weekend at Croke Park. Galway captain Padraic Joyce had high praise for Kerry's midfield giant Darragh O'Sé, Tomas' older brother, when discussing the game yesterday.

Tomas could well be switched to centre-back for the quarter-final, if Aidan O'Mahony fails to recover from an Achilles injury.

But whatever about defensive alignments, O'Sé acknowledged that Kerry will need another improvement in midfield if they are to overcome the Connacht champions.

"I thought the midfield performed well against Monaghan, we were pretty happy with it. We didn't clear them out or anything at midfield - Monaghan broke even as far as I could see the last day.

"Really, we were delighted that we got more possession around there than we'd done in the previous championship games.

"Darragh had a good game the last day and I'm sure he'll be trying to build on that again (against Galway)."

Click here to enter our competition to win two corporate box tickets for the GAA All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals at Croke Park next Saturday.

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