A FORMER Tyrone footballer has made some astonishing comments about Kerry GAA supporters describing them as “absolute animals” during the course of a game and claiming that, deep down, there is “a real hard core and a real nastiness” to them.
Sean Cavanagh, now an RTÉ analyst, was out injured the day Kerry hammered Tyrone in the Championship qualifier in Killarney in 2012. He said he attended a stag party the night before the game and arrived at Fitzgerald Stadium with “a slightly hungover head”.
He noted there was a welcoming atmosphere for him but he knows the rest of the Tyrone players found it very hostile.
“I was thinking these are real purists. Then you sit in the stand and you realise Páidí Ó Sé was right. They are absolute animals whenever the game was on,” Kavanagh wrote in his column in today’s Daily Star.
He said Kerry fans were “riled on the terraces” but when Tyrone players were leaving the dressing room afterwards hundreds of Kerry fans gathered to applaud them.
“They were back slapping us, ‘ah youse are great lads’ and all this. To me it seemed a wee bit patronising,” Kavanagh wrote.
“They had this ability that obviously when they thought we were a threat they were monsters. And then it was very much ‘ah we are the purists of football’, tapping us on the back on the way out, ‘good luck, we just beat you by 10 points’.”
Cavanagh (36) also claimed that there was a mix-up in their hotel in Killarney on the day of the game which meant the players had to eat later than planned. The team bus was also held up in traffic on the way to the stadium and, the former Tyrone star claimed, gardaí were slow in responding.
“It was just one of those days – you felt ‘this is set-up for an ambush, there is no way we are getting up the road with a win’”.
Cavanagh also used his newspaper column to comment on the language used by Kerry supporters during the game but, although he saw fit to mention it, he didn’t elaborate on that point.
He wrote: “They are very good at portraying themselves as the aristocrats and the beautiful game and we play football the right way and we play attacking football and bla bla bla. But deep down there is a real hard core to them, and a real nastiness to them, as there probably is to all counties”.
The Tyrone man expects the Kerry v Mayo clash on Sunday to be a “spicy affair” and that James Horan’s side will thrive in an atmosphere like that. He expects Mayo to win by a few points.
“They will relish going down to Fitzgerald Stadium, as opposed to bowing down to any aristocrat Kerry football nonsense,” Kavanagh wrote.
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