Former Kerry footballer Tomás Ó Sé believes that the Kingdom are well placed to mount a challenge for All-Ireland glory this year, with the fixture list and revamped competition format playing into their favour.
Kerry get their Championship campaign underway when they take on Clare at Fitzgerald Stadium this weekend with Cork waiting for them, should they get the better of the Banner.
A win over Cork would then ensure the Kingdom’s progress to the Super 8 stage and for Ó Sé the gradual increase in challenge is something that will stand to his former side.
"I think it’s actually set up in a way that, if they’re good enough, they have a great chance," he said on 2fm’s Game On.
"If you look at it, they’re starting off with Clare and they should get over Clare. They’re going to play a Cork team which I think are improving since last year.
"What’s key for me is if they get into the Super 8s, they’re going to have three tough matches.
"Now if they haven’t sorted out whatever problems they seem to have in the last couple of seasons by then, then they haven’t got any chance of winning an All-Ireland.
"But I do think with the Clare game and with the Cork game, it’s an upward curve constantly and if you get into the Super 8s, it gives you time to bed down."
"I think the way the Championship format is laid out this year is absolutely perfect for Kerry."
While Ó Sé admits that there are still defensive worries for The Kingdom, he believes that they have enough talent coming through in every area of the pitch, to make a real push for Sam Maguire.
"There are still question marks over Kerry and I suppose a lot of Kerry people would be kind of down on the management at the moment, in terms of how open we are at the back," he said.
"It’s something that seems to be popping up all the time.
"Since last year you’ve got Shane Murphy in goal, Jack Barry at midfield Seán O Sé at centre forward and David Clifford in at full-forward.
"There are a lot of new players, so it will be a different team that will be setting out this year.
"I would give them a great chance. I think if things go right for them in the Super 8s, if they get that far."
O’Sé claims that the format of the Super 8s can help those young Kerry players grow and improve as the competition progresses and he believes that the opportunity to test themselves against sides from outside Munster, in round-robin football, will be crucial.
"I don’t think in the last number of years that we can say we learned enough," he said. "Cork haven’t been going great, we seem to be able to get over Clare and Tipperary with no real major problems and we’ve come unstuck in the semi-finals.
"I think the Super 8s will allow you that bit of breathing area where you will improve. You’ll have tough matches but if you have a bad performance you still might be able to qualify and I think that’s what Kerry will need.
"I think the way the Championship format is laid out this year is absolutely perfect for Kerry, if the progress from last year."