Weeshie's Week

Kerry are second best to Dublin at the moment

September 22nd, 2015
by Weeshie Fogarty

Three championships wins in a row for Dublin over Kerry is a stark reminder that the blues are simply better than us at the moment, you can dress it up whatever way you want and make excuses for these defeats but we are second best in the country at the moment with Mayo behind us. That's the way the picture reads for me. However we never imagined that we would witness one of the worse All Ireland finals for a long time. Indeed I was present in 1983 when Dublin were also involved in another deplorable day for football. It was a game remembered for all the wrong reasons. And the weather was simply shocking. So Dublin have a reputation of winning against the odds and the elements.  

They beat Galway that year of '83 in the Final. The match was memorable for a number of reasons although the standards of football and sportsmanship were not those desired for one of the GAA's showcase days. Four players were sent off three from Dublin and one from Galway. The game was played in a gale with showers of driving rain. Although the official attendance was 71,988 - this was before All Ireland Finals became all ticket occasions - there was overcrowding on both terraces with many supporters failing to get into the ground. Dublin played much of the second half into the gale-force wind with twelve men against Galway's fourteen and held out to win the game 1-10 to 1-8. Barney Rock, (father of Dean), was Dublin's top scorer with 1-6. Dublin became the first team to win an All-Ireland Final with twelve men. The 1983 final is often referred to as 'the game of shame' but for Dublin supporters it was won by 'the twelve apostles'.

So Dublin have a reputation of prevailing in adverse conditions and last Sunday we saw them give a superb team effort from one to fifteen as they simply overpowered Kerry. Indeed a seven or eight point victory would have been a more realistic score in favour of the Dubs. And it was their brilliant defending which impressed me more than anything else. Their discipline in tackling without conceding scoreable frees was unbelievable and when we realised that Kerry scored just one free from close in, that late in the game from Brian Sheehan, then that tells the whole story. Was it the first time in history that Kerry raised just one white flag from frees?

Of course the conditions played a huge part in making this such a disappointing spectacle but it was as they say "as good for the goose as the gander". This was a very poor Kerry display and they were always chasing the game, a lot of misplaced passes, failing to win possession in the treacherous conditions, they looked out of sorts, disjointed, deprived of that freshness and spring in their steps so necessary to achieve victory.

Jonny Cooper, Rory o Carroll and Philip McMahon held the vaunted Kerry full forward line in a voice like grip and prevented them from getting even one clear shot at Cluxtons net. It was here in defence that the seeds of victory were well and truly laid. Mid field was also found wanting and it was generally expected that we would have a head start there, however young Fenton whose father comes from Spa, Donie o Sullivan's Killarney club was the main man here and his powerful running, like the rest of his team mates, especially from goal to goal caused endless problems. He set the tone with a point after just one minute and his daisy cutter of a shot for goal in the second half came back off the butt of the post when a goal looked certain.

Eamon Fitzmaurice as always was wonderfully dignified in defeat when interviewed afterwards and any talk of a new manager should be immediately put to bed. The Finuge man will go away for the winter, mull over this defeat and learn plenty; he is the best man for the job, no argument in my opinion. The young minors chomping at the bit need safe hands to ease them into senior status; it's a crucial time in Kerry football, introducing these young men to the senior side. There will be retirements, father time waits for no man. We should not forget when Dublin threatened to dominate the seventies, Mick o Dwyer raised the bar, brought his men to new levels of fitness never seen before and matched the Dubs goal for goal, point for point, the rest is history. Of course it can be done again; this is what Kerry is all about.

Easy to be wise after the event I appreciate but with the conditions that prevailed it was a day for stronger men; conditions should have been the foremost topic of debate among the selectors after just fifteen minutes.  Kieran Donaghy and Darren o Sullivan added drive, spirit and a good bit of drive and cutting when introduced; they had the strength and experience which was obvious. Tommy Walsh I feel should have also been thrown into the fray while it is strange why Mark o Se was listed as number eighteen, obviously as we now know unable to play. Another strange  decision was the withdrawing of James o Donoghue, yes he had failed like others to win possession at times in the dreadful conditions but kicking three points, setting up two more and being a recognised goal scorer he was always capable of finding the net for the goal so badly needed.

I thought Kieran Donaghy should have a had a penalty for the second tackle committed on him in the square and while Killian Young will be remembered for failing to collect that ball close to goal when a score looked on it must be remembered that seldom a defender finds himself in these situations and may not be sharp enough to take advantage as would a recognised forwards. The better team won on the day but no fault to Brendan Kealy, Shane Enright, Jonathan Lyne, Darren o Sullivan Donnacha Walsh and Kieran Donaghy who were excellent in the conditions.

All the talk will be of this All-Ireland lost but let's not forget what was won this year alone. Minor, junior All Irelands, ladies under sixteen, a Hogan Cup and two inter-firm titles, and of course a Christy Ring Cup and promotion for the hurlers and an under sixteen All Ireland also for Kerry's young hurlers. Now what other county can match this?    

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