David Clifford says losing Spa players from the East Kerry troop will make winning a third consecutive Kerry Senior Football Championship much harder.
Spa, a club based a couple of miles east of Killarney, were promoted to senior level earlier this month when they beat Beaufort in the 2020 intermediate final. It means a large chunk of the players who won senior titles with East Kerry in 2019 and 2020 - like Dara Moynihan and Liam Kearney - are no longer options for manager Jerry O'Sullivan.
Spa have already made their mark in the top tier with a win against Dr Crokes in the Kerry Senior Club Championship (a separate competition to the Kerry SFC) at the weekend.
The draw for the Kerry SFC was made on Monday, with the tie of the round being the pairing of East Kerry and Austin Stacks.
"We're going to be losing something like 10 or 11 from a panel, and our training ground as well. It's a bit of a change."
26 September 2020; Darragh Roche, 14, of East Kerry celebrates with team-mate David Clifford after scoring his side's second goal during the senior county final. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
The two-time All-Star was sidelined for extra-time of Kerry's All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Tyrone last month. Clifford said it was cramp, and not a dead leg, which forced him to exit the action.
While awaiting the start of the senior championship, Clifford has played with his club, Fossa, in the Premier Junior Championship. They will meet Listry in the quarter-finals.
"Why we're so strong in East Kerry is we have four or five clubs who are competing to win the intermediate every year," said Clifford.
"There's naturally going to be a lot of up and down there. We probably haven't lost the volume of players in other years that we will be losing this year with Spa. We've gained Kilcummin this year, which is good.
"With us having those strong intermediate teams, we have fellas who not only are trying to win with East Kerry but are trying to put themselves in the shop window make a Kerry team too. That makes the challenge a lot stronger in training. It must be impossible to pick a team, which is good."