Sean Cavanagh has called Kerry fans a “strange breed”, mirroring comments made by Páidi Ó Sé 16 years ago.
The then Kerry manager called the supporters “the roughest type of f***ing animals you could ever deal with” in a 2003 interview, which he later apologised for.
Cavanagh recalled a 2012 qualifier at Fitzgerald Stadium, which he missed through injury. Kerry had lost their previous three games, two All-Irelands and a semi-final, to Tyrone at the time, and made a statement with a 1-16 to 1-6 victory.
Cavanagh, who watched the game from the stand, described the Kerry fans as “absolute dogs” during the game, and “patronising” after the final whistle.
“I was thinking these are real purists. Then you sit in the stand, and you realise Páidi Ó Sé was right. They are absolute animals whenever the game is on,” wrote Cavanagh in his Irish Daily Star column.
“Kerry seemed to get their kick out of it anyway. It was really bizarre. They maybe thought they were getting revenge.
“They beat us out the gate, and you thought, ‘Jesus, these guys are absolute dogs’.
“And then I remember as we were leaving the changing room, walking out onto the team bus there were hundreds of Kerry supporters, all clapping us.
“They were back slapping us, ‘ah youse are great lads’, and all this. To me, it seemed a wee bit patronising.
“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’.
“At least when you come to Tyrone you know we are going to be dogs from the word go to the end. A strange breed now, I have to say.”
Speaking on OTB AM, Kieran Donaghy said he remembered the Kerry fans’ behaviour in “very much the opposite way”.
The former Kerry star added: “I’ve heard plenty of stuff off Tyrone fans and half my family are from Tyrone. I’ve heard stuff off Mayo fans. I’ve heard awful stuff off Dublin fans. That’s what fans do, they say something in the moment that isn’t calculated.
“I don’t know what Sean heard, he’s very precious if he’s going to be worried about what fans are saying to him when he’s in the stands.
“If we’re going to talk about everybody who gives out to us in the crowd, we’re going to be in for a long day.”
Mike Quirke’s Football Show: Tactical Mayo but never boring. How Cork changed tack. Tyrone always learning. Fixing the fouling carnage