Bryan Sheehan: These keyboard warriors hide in anonymity

Five-time All-Ireland winner Bryan Sheehan speaks on what's happening in Kerry on the back of letters received by his former boss Éamonn Fitzmaurice…


Football is a religion down here in Kerry, anyone will tell you that.

We’ve been blessed to have had success in the 80s and again in the mid-00s. Those achievements came so quick that it became something that Kerry people expected.

Football is the number one sport in the county and we were always sitting top of the pile, but we haven’t been since 2014.

Down here you’re judged on All-Ireland medals, when things aren’t going according to plan and the outlook isn’t great for Kerry they can be very quick to get up on players’ or management’s backs.

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However, this isn’t all Kerry supporters. This is a small minority and I know that.

I played for 17 years for The Kingdom, so I know that it’s a very select few that are doing the talking.

This is an amateur sport, both players and management are out there to give it their all and do the very best that they can for the love of the game.

It’s sad to see this type of abuse and social media has a big part to play in it too.  It’s very easy for these faceless keyboard warriors to have a go.

I got one too, but it was laughable

I received one of these poison pen letters over the last couple of years before I retired.

If these individuals were hard enough they would put their name and phone number on them it would be something, but – of course – they don’t. They are hiding behind their anonymity, both in letter form and online.

It wasn’t a massive thing for me, but I have heard of one or two players getting one recently enough. I can guarantee you if you compared the handwriting and the tone of them, they are probably all coming from the same handful of people doing it over and over again.

The one I got, I really just laughed it off. The way I viewed it when I received it was that it was just some fella was ranting away.

You have to be thick skinned and ignore that kind of silly stuff.

But if you’re constantly getting these letters through the door, or it’s continually happening on social media, it can be difficult to take – especially when players have family members that are experiencing this type of thing as well.

It’s probably harder on families than it is on the individual themselves.

Thankfully, I could very much count on one hand the negative ones that spring to mind.

The positive letters – especially since I retired – far outnumber those. I really was blown away by the letters I received from people, not just from all over the county, but from all over the country and abroad.

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