A GREAT team's swansong? was one of the headline questions posed in The Kerryman on August 8 following the county senior team's exit from the All-Ireland Championship at the hands of the eventual AllIreland champions Donegal.
History will record a 1-12 to 1-10 win for Donegal on All-Ireland quarter-final weekend in Croke Park, and on another day Kerry might have stole a victory here.
But most of the considered analysis concurred that Kerry had been roundly beaten by Donegal, who showed all the traits Kerry lacked - drive, energy, hunger and an unquenchable will to win.
Kerry wanted to win, too, and they had a certain hunger and drive, but it didn't total up to that which Donegal brought to the occasion.
On this day Kerry's skill, experience and knack normally bails them out of tight corners, but in those departments Donegal were equal to the task; indeed, Donegal were the superior outfit in almost every aspect of the game.
An early goal from Colm McFadden gave Donegal a 1-4 to 0-5 lead to protect for the second half and with eight minutes to play they led by six. Kerry looked a beaten docket.
Then Kieran Donaghy slapped in a goal. Then Paul Galvin kicked a point. Then Anthony Maher did the same. Kerry within one.
The Kingdom had their chances but Donegal held out for a deserved if nervous win.
Against Cork in the Munster semi-final defeat one commentator said that was the day the music died for Kerry. It wasn't, but on August 5 the only song to be heard was The Hills of Donegal.
Kerry's championship was over. Within a fortnight manager Jack O'Connor had stepped down, with a year still to run on his threeyear term.
O'Connor felt he had got as much as he could out of the players and within weeks Eamonn Fitzmaurice would be announced as O'Connor's successor.