Marc Ó Sé: Split the season, give Tony Brosnan his Kerry chance
Having spent the year managing Kerry junior club side Listry, Marc Ó Sé has felt the benefits of the 2020 'split season,' and reckons it's something the GAA should base their calendar around in the years to come.
More certainty for club players. More balance for county players. More opportunities for club managers. A better all-round season for everyone.
"I’d be for it (the split season)," says O'Shea of the GAA calendar which would have the club season at one end of the year and the inter-county season at the other.
"I just think it needs to be compressed more again," the Kerryman adds at the AIB's Toughest Season with Sportsfile launch.
"Having county players accessible to their club managers is outstanding, you can now do more work on tactics and stuff. Before, it was just you’d have them back of a Thursday night before a championship game at the weekend which for me doesn’t make sense. If the pandemic has thought us anything it’s that this split season can work..."
One of the keys to making it work according to the three-time All-Star, is ridding the season of its unnecessary trimmings. He's drawn to the various pre-season competitions, and he also feels that the provincial system may need to be altered.
"I do think the inter-county and club season can run in different parts of the year. My thing is, I would absolutely abolish, with all due respect to them, the McKenna Cups, the O’Byrne Cups, the McGrath Cups, the FBDs.
"You look at situations whereby you could have O’Byrne Cup games going on, and county teams haven’t even gone back training yet. That’s farcical really. I would hold onto the college competitions, the Sigersons, I enjoyed my time playing that and I think it’s great in the development of players.
"I’d re-format the provincial championships, maybe play them first, get the national league going and then get into your championship. I would model it on a week on week job. I don’t think this waiting around, two/three week breaks, there’s just no benefit to it really. I think it’s important to keep things going. You’ve seen now that we can be adaptable. A county game, all you need is a week to recover...at most there should be a two week break..."
As for the upcoming county season, Ó Sé is looking forward and indeed a little bit wary ahead of his county's straight knock-out clash with neighbours and rivals Cork. One man he feels could help them over the line is the in-form Tony Brosnan, the man who has been shooting the lights out these past two years on the Kerry club scene with Dr Crokes and could - injury permitting - finally make his breakthrough with the Kerry seniors.
"Tony Brosnan has had a great county championship but unfortunately he's had a punctured lung. I hope he gets back in time for the inter-county season because he's a player that would put huge pressure on the inside forward line, with the exception of Clifford. He's a player that could nail down a championship spot if he's physically right.
"That's what you want. you want a player to be able to kick off both feet and that's what Dublin have at the moment. They have three inside forwards that will hurt you on the scoreboard. You need an inside forward line that will strike fear into the opposition..."
On the Kerry club scene, O'Shea is a big fan of the divisional set-up - East Kerry played Mid Kerry in the county final - which he's seen give chances to all players in the county to play at the highest level.
"I think it's great. Where would you get it that any club player in the county has a chance to win a [senior] County Championship medal regardless of if you're a junior, if you're intermediate, if you're novice, if you're senior. If you're good enough and you can get the divisional team, I think it's a great system. I know other people disagree with it but your club system and your County Championship system.
"The club that I'm in charge of at the moment, Ronan Buckley and Anthony Kennedy from Listry were on the East Kerry divisional side. If there wasn't that system, they wouldn't have got the opportunity to play at the highest level within the county."