It should have come as no surprise that a young Kerry team were bullied by Mayo during parts of the Division 1 league final, according to Kingdom boss Peter Keane.
From the Kerry team which started that league final reverse, goalkeeper Shane Ryan, defenders Tom O’Sullivan and Graham O’Sullivan, midfielder Diarmuid O’Connor, and forwards Dara Moynihan, Seán O’Shea, and David Clifford, each pocketed at least one All-Ireland minor medal over the past five years.
That’s half a team whose average age is no more than 21, and so physicality is an area where Kerry, for the moment, are going to fall that bit short by comparison with the other main challengers for Sam Maguire.
“If you look at us, we’re young, we’re slight, we’re light. Is that going to happen [that we get bullied a bit]? Of course, it will. Why? Because we’re young,” said Keane, who begins his first championship campaign as Kerry senior manager with a Munster semi-final away to Clare this Saturday.
“Compare a Kerry Diarmuid O’Connor to an Aidan O’Shea, side by side — sure Aidan must have 10 or 12 years under his belt doing strength and conditioning versus our man.
"So it is going to take that bit of time to get to that physicality.
“So, was I shocked by that? No. It is going to take time, and the question is, how long will it take to get there.
If you bring in a young team, they are going to tire as the league goes on because they are so young.
"They weren’t used to this horsing week after week.”
When asked if he believes Kerry can play around that lack of physicality in the weeks and months ahead, Keane replied, “hopefully”.
While there is a general acceptance that Kerry need to be tighter at the back than they have been in recent summers, a task not made easier by the loss of Peter Crowley to injury, Keane wants his players to have “a cut” this summer.
“I’d like us to play the football that if you were on the team you’d enjoy playing it. And I want us to have a cut.
"I don’t want us to go home wondering should we have done this or should we have done that.”
Planning for a potential meeting with Dublin in mid-July or August, stressed Keane, is not on his radar.
“There’s about as much point as me worrying about Dublin or anyone else worrying about a Tyrone or a Mayo or someone else.
"We have Clare first and we’ll worry about that.”