Enda Varley and Steven Poacher discuss the poor from of All-Ireland champions Kerry as they head for round three of the All-Ireland group series.
Steven Poacher believes that Kerry may be suffering from fatigue as they look to retain their All-Ireland SFC crown.
The Kingdom regained the title for the first time since 2014 last season, and have not done back-to-back since 2006-07.
David and Paudie Clifford had a testing campaign last year which ran all the way to an All-Ireland JFC club final win with Fossa, while Paul Murphy and Shane Ryan did likewise at intermediate level with Rathmore.
Having lost to Mayo in their All-Ireland group stage opener against Mayo, Kerry laboured at times before seeing off Cork by two points last weekend.
Enda Varley spoke of an article he read which basically amounted to “are Kerry arsed with the group stages?”
Poacher replied: “You’ve got to remember that we talked maybe at the start of last year about Kerry and if you look at the All-Ireland final last year, and you took David Clifford out of the team, Galway would have won the All-Ireland.
“You could say the same about Shane Walsh if you took him out of the Galway team.
“If you take Clifford out of Kerry, I think Kerry go back into the pack quite a bit.
“When I say the pack, I’m talking about the top end of the pack — I don’t mean the bottom 16 teams. I’m talking about contenders in the top five or six.
“I don’t think there’s a lot separating the teams this year but the Cliffords have played an enormous amount of football over the last 12 months.
“Even though they were playing for Fossa at junior level, they were still playing in big games and having to make the journeys, do the warmups and take the knocks.
“Regardless of how good the opposition were, they were still having to go through this.
“I feel there could be a little bit of mental and physical fatigue in Kerry this year from that point of view — it’s been a long season for those two in particular.
“They probably haven’t gone back as early as some counties, so maybe they’re playing a bit of catchup.
“If you’re not going well now, it’s very hard to just lift it,” he adds.
“In six weeks’ time, we’re going to know who is in the All-Ireland final. It’s not a long period of time and you’ve to play three or four games in that time.
“So it’s not a long time to do much work between games.
“So I just feel that Kerry at the present moment in time are just not motoring as well as they would like to.
“The defunct Munster championship has probably papered over a few cracks.
“At the weekend, Cork gave Kerry their fill out of it for long spells and a large part of that came from long kickouts.”
While Poacher feels they can be caught, he does believe that the talent at Jack O’Connor’s disposal can never be ruled out.
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