Peter Keane has insisted that Kerry’s six-goal demolition of Tyrone in the Allianz League back in June will have no bearing on Saturday’s All-Ireland semi-final meeting.
Kerry put 6-15 on the board against the Red Hands in that Division 1 semi-final tie, winning by 16 points, though Tyrone would go on to record Championship wins over Cavan, Donegal, and Monaghan to claim the Ulster title.
The two provincial winners will finally meet at Croke Park this weekend following a Covid outbreak in the Tyrone camp which prompted a 13-day postponement of the original last four fixture.
“I don’t think it was reflective of the day,” claimed Keane of the large winning margin when the sides met at Fitzgerald Stadium in June. “I think I said that afterwards. You (media) were mocking me and laughing when I said that if you took the goals out of it, I wouldn’t have felt there was a whole pile between us.
“Tyrone got 1-14, 15 scores, against us on the day. They’re a very capable team. We were down 0-3 to 0-1 in that game and the next thing we got a goal and then Gavin White got a goal in over the top.
“Suddenly we were in at the water break 3-1 to 0-3 ahead. That turns the momentum of a game and so I’m not getting carried away with that result and neither are the team.
“There wasn’t much in the previous game we played, above in Edendork, when we lost by a point in a right good battle and we were lucky to get our noses out in front of them in 2019.
“So we’re not reading too much into that game down in Killarney and I don’t think anyone else should either. That’s not me just brushing it off. A game can run away from you very quickly and it’s very hard to put a game right when you’re trailing that early.
“They also lost Darragh Canavan quite early in the semi-final, about four minutes.”
It remains to be seen how much the Covid outbreak has taken out of Tyrone ahead of their return to Croke Park, where they beat Monaghan in the Ulster final.
Keane said that from Kerry’s perspective, they are remaining ‘very guarded’ and fully respecting the ongoing threat presented by the virus.
“It’s out there, it’s very much in the community,” said the Munster title-winning manager. “We’ve been, I suppose, taking as much responsibility as we possibly could over the last number of months since we got back in April.
“We’re protecting ourselves but we’re also trying to protect the community. Even little things like our team meetings and stuff, video analysis, anything like that, we’re holding them all out in the open.
“We’re eating out in the open. It’s a strange environment but needs must and we just work with whatever we possibly can to try to make sure we’re as safe as we can possibly be.”
Keane shrugged at the suggestion that as the only one of the provincial winners yet to play in Croke Park this season, Kerry may be at a slight disadvantage. “I’m assuming there’s probably some Covid restrictions now in place in Croke Park as well so I’m sure they’d got used to all of that and got all of that stuff out of the way,” he said of the other provincial winners. “Look, we weren’t there so there’s nothing we can do about it.”