Tomas O Se concedes that, while he was playing, Kerry never beat Tyrone when it really counted.
During the course of O Se’s illustrious intercounty career, the Kingdom had a fierce rivalry with the O’Neill County and it was invariably the northerners who came out on top.
“To understand why losing to Tyrone always stuck in my throat so much, let me tell you about ’08. Remember their goal in the All-Ireland final? A slip by Padraig Reidy and Tommy McGuigan stabbing the ball home from maybe a yard?,
“Well I’m jogging back out to my position, effing and blinding away inside my head. It’s a desperate body blow to take because you can just tell it’s lit up Tyrone’s dander.
“Next thing, Kevin Hughes shunts into my back. Hard as he can go. I’m Kerry captain and, as he sees it, he’s posting a message here to the first in command. A message that tells the three-in-a-row chasing champions “we’re marking our territory here and f*** ye!
“That was the swagger they had, the kind that Dublin have now. They had their bullies, their tight defenders, their muck-dogs around the middle of the field, winning breaking ball. They had their silky forwards up front too. They had it all.
“And I hated them when they beat us, hated them for that swagger. Maybe the biggest regret I have in football is that we didn’t beat that Tyrone team when it mattered. You can have arguments till the cows come home about what we did in Killarney two summers ago, thumping them by 10 points in a qualifier.
“But that doesn’t count in my eyes. We just beat a skeleton of the real Tyrone. It was a moral victory, not the real thing