In the week leading up to the 2017 League Final between Dublin and Kerry, Eamon Fitzmaurice threw his toys out of the pram in the full glare of the media. The Kerry boss wasn’t happy with the narrative being used about his sides cynical approach to how they played the game.
Fitzmaurice used a couple of incidents involving Dublin players over a six year period as proof that Jim Gavin’s side had a ‘serious hard edge’ as he put it and called for balance in the conversation towards his team.
That statement seemed ridiculous at the time and looks even more so now as Kerry top the charts as far as black cards are concerned with his team receiving 25 in four league campaigns from a total of 31 games.
In this seasons league campaign Kerry players were issued with 9 black cards in just eight games including two in the final for Johnathon Lyne and Anthony Maher.
Compare Dublin’s record of just 9 Black Cards in four years and the fact they played four more games than Kerry in that period and also throw in that Diarmuid Connolly’s Black Card against Monaghan was a wrong call and Fitzmaurice’s rant looks both laughable and one of the greatest pieces of fiction ever to come out of The Kingdom.
For all of the disgust portrayed by those from Kerry aimed towards the style of play and cynicism of northern teams over the years, the men in green and gold are way ahead of every other Division 1 team in the black card list.
Donegal and Mayo are next on the list with 16 black cards in four years and in the 2017 season alone, Tyrone are the nearest digressers of cynical play, three short of Kerry’s total with six black cards having played a game less.
Kerry are no longer the aristocrats of the game and have become the masters of what they once professed to despise.
The records speak for themselves, the only team with a ‘serious hard edge’ or more accurately a ‘serious cynical edge’ are the men from Kerry and Fitzmaurice can only blame himself if he doesn’t like the portrayal of his side in the media, you reap what you sow.