16:06, 26 Mar 2012
Kerry manager Jack O'Connor had positives and negatives to take out of his side's 0-20 to 1-13 win over Laois yesterday, which secured their qualification for the Division 1 semi-finals.
The major talking point from the game was the 10th minute sending-off of Kerry defender Tomás Ó Sé who was given a straight red card by referee Marty Duffy.
Witnesses of the off-the-ball incident allege that Ó Sé struck out at Laois' Billy Sheehan, hitting him in the rib/stomach area in front of a linesman on the stand side of the Killarney ground.
Asked for his view on the defender's dismissal, O'Connor said: "I didn't see it. I was looking away. I can't comment on it.
"It's always disappointing to lose people. But I can't comment on the incident because I didn't see it."
It is Ó Sé's third red card in the past 10 months - he had only recently returned to the Kerry team after seeing out a suspension for a sending-off against Armagh in a league match last month.
The five-time All-Star is facing at least a two-match ban which would rule him out of Kerry's final Division 1 game against Mayo and their semi-final clash.
But if his suspension is extended, he could miss the Kingdom's Munster Championship opener against Tipperary on May 27.
Commenting on yesterday's victory over the O'Moore men, O'Connor was encouraged by the performances of some of the newer players including man-of-the-match Patrick Curtin, who scored 0-4, and league debutant Johnny Buckley (0-1).
"We are delighted with the way that the younger fellas have taken to it. We are putting pressure on them to try their case and really push on," he said.
"It was really heart-warming today to see how they performed out there in difficult circumstances. (Pat) Curtin really did himself a lot of favours today with the way he played.
"He kicked four great scores. It hopefully strengthens our hand going into the summer. Even if the league finished now we would be happy enough because a lot of new fellas got exposure in the league.
"It's been a great learning ground for them. That's what the league really is about. It isn't the be-all or end-all to win it."
Playing for an hour down to 14 men, Kerry had to show their battling qualities to see off Laois' challenge. The midlanders' captain Colm Begley broke through to slip home a 49th minute goal and move the visitors into a 1-11 to 0-13 lead.
But O'Connor's charges, aided by substitutes Kieran Donaghy, Paul Galvin and Anthony Maher, took a stranglehold after that to seal their fifth win in six league outings.
"It's another game for us and another game to try out a few things, so we are happy enough with that," added the Kerry boss.
"It's a tough pitch to play for 60 minutes minus a man and it was a warm day as well so that knocked a lot out of us. It was another test of us. It was good to kick 20 points in those circumstances."