"It's the psychology of it, deep down, you don't give a shit" - don't read too much into challenge game whispers
There's no smoke without fire.
And the smoking whisper around Munster this week is that the lowly Cork footballers defeated not just Galway in a challenge match recently, but the mighty Dublin too.
Peter Keane has been bigging the Rebels up. So have some Kerry pundits. Suppose that's their duty but despite the rumours and the caution from the south west, the majority believe that the Kingdom will again have way too much for the Rebels this Saturday night in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Among those are The GAA Hour pundits. Colm Parkinson has heard the same stories. That Ronan McCarthy's men have beaten a Dublin team and a Galway team in a challenge matches but the Laois man used a few examples from his own career to make the point that challenge games are often very misleading.
The contrast between club and county told it all.
While Laois were a relatively middle tier county who'd be peaking for challenge games, Portlaoise were a top tier club and they didn't really give a toss.
"I just remember when we were back playing, this dynamic of challenge games leading into the championship. They're so misleading. We've (Laois) beaten Kerry on the way into the championship and 'we're flying it, we're going brilliant..."
"We were hitting that challenge game like a championship game, 'this is our last test.' Kerry didn't give a shit about this! They don't. They could get their backs up during the game but I'd say they'd be doing well to be getting up for Limerick and Tipp early on. This is so far down the list of their priorities but it's so high up on ours..."
"We were one of the best challenge game teams you'll ever see, we'd go in with a false sense of confidence and suddenly we'd lose to Westmeath in the first round of the Leinster championship..."
With Portlaoise, despite the fact that they were contextually a better team, hidings would often arrive.
"Portlaoise were the worst challenge team. We were useless, we could get humiliated going away to a team for a challenge and then we could win a Leinster club. We could be in the dressing room saying lads, 'championship's starting soon, we need to show something here! And then we lose by 15 points to Sarsfields or something...It's the psychology of it, deep down, you don't give a shit.."
"They give you such a false sense of perception coming into a game, for Peter Keane to say they're going well on the challenge circuit is clutching a bit..." added Conor Heneghan.
Tomás Ó Sé needs no such clutching though. He reckons it's a case of by how much rather than whether Kerry will win.
"I don't know what Cork are going to throw out. The people of Cork, I'd say they've lost all form of support down there in terms of people going watching them play. It's going on a few years now where they're not performing and last year was diabolical really for them.
Towards the end (of the league), something happened there, there was a decision made in that group, the way we're playing is not working and suddenly you're hearing whispers of them winning challenge games against the Dubs, a weakened Dublin team now, but they're still winning, and winning to a group like that who have been battered has to grow some confidence. They will have got confidence against Limerick but can you trust them to fire up on Saturday night? I wouldn't be trusting them.
I'd be hopeful, I think it'll be closer than last year but some of my predictions this year are going haywire altogether. I think that inevitability of people thinking same old Cork crap again, that's there as well. The worry I'd have for Cork is if Kerry tag on scores early, they could crumble."
You can watch the challenge match chat and much more from GAA Hour Show here.