The surprise omission of Marc Ó Sé means Kerry will start an All-Ireland final without a member of the famed Ard a’ Bhóthair family for the first time in 43 years.
Between Marc, brothers Tomás and Darragh and their late uncle Páidí, an Ó Sé has been named in the starting line-up in every Kerry final appearance since the 1972 defeat by Offaly.
But Marc, who stands just three appearances behind Tomás at the head of Gaelic football’s all-time appearances list, misses out on Sunday, having picked up a hamstring injury a week ago in training.
However, he will take his place on the bench.
Ó Sé made a storming start to the semi-final win over Tyrone, before being sidelined with a black card after just 14 minutes. And he admits he found it very hard to watch from the sidelines as Kerry reached a third final in five years.
“You’ve no control on the sideline and you’re disgusted with yourself and you’ve left the boys down, especially after 14 minutes.
“I was very disappointed because I was delighted with the way the game was going for me personally and the team, I thought we were going well.”
But he accepted referee Maurice Deegan was correct to flash black for a pull down of Conor McAliskey.
“I was disappointed in myself. At the time I didn’t feel it was justified because to be fair I did go to break the ball away from him.
“What I didn’t do was I should have pulled my hand back straight away and left it there but I definitely left the hand in. He may have gone to ground easy but at the same time, I let him go to ground easy. I let my hand in so in hindsight the referee was right.”
That decision could conceivably end Ó Sé’s playing time in the green and gold.
After struggling with a pelvic injury last year, there had been speculation he would retire after Kerry’s win over Donegal last September, but the 35-year-old returned this year in search of a sixth All-Ireland medal.
Speaking before the team announcement, he said: “I’d an injury at the time but once it cleared up, I felt I was going to go again and it did clear up.
“I just keep going as long as I feel I can. I felt good all year.
“I don’t know what the story is with next year. I’m not thinking about retiring. I’m not thinking about staying on. I’m just thinking about this game.”
He was adamant that targeting his brother’s appearance record wouldn’t have any influence on his future plans.
“To be honest it doesn’t make any difference. There will be players that will come on and break all those records in a few years without a doubt. Tomás is there now. Give that a few years and some other fella will come and take over.
“It’s no different to the likes of Ryan Giggs in the soccer. Inevitably, it will be players with the teams that are successful because they’re the teams that go longer in the championship.”
An Ó Sé held in reserve augments Kerry’s impressive bench, but the Ventry man is an admirer of Dublin’s strength in depth, including an old foe that has haunted him on the big day before.
“Look at the bench the last day; Alan Brogan, Michael Darragh MacAuley and Fitzsimons in particular, And I’m thinking of some fella now, McManamon, of course McManamon.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved