David Moran admits Dublin’s recent successes against Kerry are more difficult for his younger team-mates to get over than the older generation in the panel.
In losing last September’s All-Ireland final to their old rivals, the current Kingdom crop were handed the unenviable title of becoming the first from the county to lose a third consecutive championship match to Dublin.
The 2014 All-Star isn’t sure if Dublin have become a bogey team, as it was suggested Tyrone were in the 2000s when they beat Kerry in three championship games in a row. But Moran can’t deny there’s a desire to win Saturday week’s Division 1 opener against Jim Gavin’s side in Croke Park.
“I suppose it’s probably easier for guys who were involved in ‘09, we beat them in championship and won the All-Ireland,” said the 27-year-old. “For guys who started after that, it’s probably more difficult because they’ve lost three. I wasn’t around in ‘11. Everyone has different circumstances.
“We’re all Kerry people. The Dubs, it’s the best game of the year from a Kerry point of view, or Cork in Killarney. They’re the glamour ties, the ones you want to play in. You try and win them more than you lose. The nature of the battles, they’re going to be nip and tuck. There’s very little between the teams. Look, I suppose, it’s like last year in Killarney, it’s a league game but it’s one against Dublin you want to win and come the championship hopefully we’ll beat Dublin and we’ll try and make sure it’s not four in a row.”
Moran doesn’t feel the onus on Kerry to make amends this season is any different to how it was after previous Sam Maguire-less years. “I’m not sure there’s any more pressure this year than there was in ‘14 after losing to Dublin in the semi-final.
“Last year, you can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, either. There was a lot of stuff last year we did well and we came up short in the final.”
Moran isn’t clutching at straws when he highlights how close Kerry came to shocking a Dublin side, he readily admits, outplayed them four months ago.
In fact, it makes the defeat stings even more. “They were dictating the pace of the game, they dictated pretty much everything we did. As good as they were, we only lost by three points. It was just kind of a funny game. I don’t whether it was the weather that kept the score down or what. Although they were better than us on the day, anything could have happened in the end, especially with Kieran (Donaghy) coming on. You weren’t that far away and you only lost by three points and you didn’t play anything near what you liked or you had been playing during the year... (that) was disappointing.”
Plagued by a mountain of injuries, Kerry aren’t expected to do anything special in this year’s Division 1, much in keeping with how they have performed in the last three springs under Eamonn Fitzmaurice.
“It wasn’t intentional. Every year it’s been ‘we’re going to try and win the league this year’ and then we’re in relegation and (it’s) ‘not again’. It’s something we’re very aware of; it’s something that going out against Dublin, we want to get off to a good start.
“Last year I think was different because we drew with Tyrone. If we lost, we would have been relegated; if we won, we would have been in the semi-final. I think we didn’t get in because of score difference and we were a point off relegation so everybody was in the same boat. The year before that and the year before that, I think it was a case of fighting relegation. You don’t want to go down that route if you can.”
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