Witnessing Dublin’s recent dominance has undoubtedly been a humbling experience for Kerry supporters but, after an encouraging run to the All-Ireland final in 2019, it looks like the green and gold faithful have finally got their swagger back.
A survey carried out by the Killarney Advertiser this week has revealed that 65% of Kerry fans are expecting a 38th All-Ireland title by the end of the year, with a whopping 99% of all respondents saying that Peter Keane’s men need to at least make the final for 2020 to be classed as a “good year”.
The survey shows how radically Kerry supporters’ expectations have changed in the past 12 months. In the most recent questionnaire, 36% were of the opinion that Kerry would win the 2020 National League. This represents a dramatic increase on last year’s pre-season poll when just 2.4% of our readers predicted that Kerry would go all the way.
Kerry eventually fell just short of clinching the Division 1 crown when they were defeated by Mayo in the decider.
Last January, almost a quarter of supporters feared that Kerry would get relegated to Division 2. This year, zero respondents foresee the Munster champions finishing below fourth.
Despite Cork’s impressive showing in last year’s Munster final, Kerry fans expect the county’s dominance at provincial level to continue in 2020 with 96% predicting an eighth Munster title in a row. For their part, Cork got the remaining 4% of the vote.
Taking a broad view of the team’s progress, an overwhelming majority (92%) of those polled said they are confident that Kerry are heading in the right direction. When asked the same question last June ahead of the Munster final, that percentage was at 78%.
Dublin’s five-in-a-row-winning manager Jim Gavin resigned at the end of the 2019 season and Kerry fans believe that this could affect the champions’ chances in 2020. 38% of respondents said that Gavin’s departure was “very significant” while a further 53% described his resignation as being “somewhat significant”. Just 9% feel that the change in manager is of no importance at all.
Kerry will get their 2020 league campaign up and running with a tricky away tie against Dublin on Saturday night.
Pic: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile.