'it's bulls**t' Kerry legend Darran O'Sullivan slams 'pathetic' rumours of split in Kingdom camp
This may technically be the shortest of Kerry's nuclear winters but it could also become the most tedious.
Their Munster SFC loss to Cork has lingered in the collective consciousness without the welcome quick distraction of club games.
The range of local topics of conversation just now isn't great: a first championship defeat to Cork in seven years or a killer virus.
With nowhere else to go, so begins the slow onset of paralysis by analysis. And now, they've a new issue with which to contend: mischievous WhatsApp rumours.
"People are bored," reckons former Kerry footballer Darran O'Sullivan of a very modern GAA phenomenon. "A lot of people have f**k all going on in their lives that they need to stir up this s***e. It's pathetic, but it's going nowhere."
The Kerry missive had it that Peter Keane and some of his older players were entrenched in a post-Cork blame game that may have severe repercussions for either feuding party, or both.
O'Sullivan doesn't deny that the defeat hit Kerry hard, that condemnation from their infamously unmerciful public was both pronounced and vocal, and that some change in Keane's management team may now be inevitable.
But, to his mind, the characters mentioned as being involved simply didn't fit the roles they were being assigned.
"Initially," O'Sullivan admits, "when the rumour came out I was disgusted.
"Do you know, I was going, 'F**k sake, I don't want to be going down this route'.
"And then I started hearing the names and what was going on and I was, I am worse for even thinking about it. The players that are being linked. You have probably dealt with a lot of them.
"Look, sure we all know how easy it is to start a rumour and some people have nothing better to do."
Then, on Saturday evening, the embers had yet to cool on Kilkenny's All-Ireland semi-final loss before a similarly fanciful version of post-match events in their dressing-room did the digital rounds, none of which had any basis in fact.
"People lie very easily now for their own entertainment," O'Sullivan stresses, "so it is malicious, it is not right. Look, that's the way of the world at the moment."
Which isn't to say that things are particularly harmonious in Kerry right now.
O'Sullivan admits to harbouring big hopes of a first All-Ireland in six years after a couple of powerful league wins against Monaghan and Donegal.
The Cork game, he acknowledges, became a "dog fight" and that "Kerry, for whatever reason, weren't prepared for that and got caught".
The area of psychology is, O'Sullivan feels, "something we have been lacking for a while".
O'Sullivan recalls Jack O'Connor being scorned by many within his own squad when he first dabbled in the discipline.
But a strong collective mentality is, he reckons, a strength of Dublin's and arguably a weakness of Kerry's.
"Fellas have given so much now and they can't get any fitter," he points out. "I do think it's an area where Dublin (are better) . . . if you look at all the games, how many All-Irelands have Dublin won by more than three or four points? Not many.
"That's down to their mental toughness," he reckons.
"You look at all the tight Kerry-Dublin games, I would have always felt that we were mentally very strong down here but it was in the last five or 10 minutes where Dublin went and beat us.
"You can say physically like maybe we weren't as fit as them or as fast - I think that's bulls**t.
"My thing is, if you're mentally strong you don't get tired, you come into it then.
"I think that's what it comes down to. Your mental toughness is going to get you over the line, not your physical toughness.
"If I'm mentally ready for this, my legs may be telling me I'm tired, my head is telling my body, 'No, you're not tired, you can go'.
"So I do think it's an area we need to concentrate on."
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