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Thy Kingdom come? Daithi, John B Keane and Kerry can but hope

On Friday morning in his world-famous boozer in Listowel, John B. Keane was looking down from Heaven delighted that the literary tradition of his Kerry tongue was being carried on, and by his own people, too. Daithi O Se, in town to judge the 'Best Dressed Lady' at the races, is deep in chat with John B's lovely widow Mary at a table near the window when a roar comes from behind the bar. "I told you to stay away from my mother!" John B's son Billy Keane shouts.

"I'll have to sign a prenuptial!" laughs Mary.

"You know what they say, Billy?" Daithi responds. "Go for the mother because the land is in her name!"

The whole bar erupts in laughter, like a scene from The Field written by you-know-who.

On the eve of All Ireland between Donegal and his beloved Kerry, RTE star Daithi O Se is in drinking tea at 11am. But Mary Keane is the real star of the show. She laughs that there will be nobody in Kerry this weekend because they are all up in Dublin for the big game in Croker. Mary will be in Kerry though. "I'll be lighting candles everywhere here in front of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart for the team up in Dublin," she smiles.

Do Kerry need candles lit for them?

"I don't know, but I'll light them any way. Us Kerry women light them. All through the years, the Kerry women would give money for their husbands and their sons to go to the All Ireland. They had to get new shoes, new socks, new shirts, money for accommodation and money for a couple of pints. They were great women. The farmers' wives took care of the farm. I remember one time I did the bar when John went to a very special All-Ireland and he was three days away and he landed back to me with a big gold bracelet. A farmer that went to the match with John said to me: 'Do you know how much that cost!'"

Speaking of cost, Daithi says he has put "a few quid on the game. I might be the only Kerryman whose actually going for a draw. I did a double. If the football is a draw and the hurling is a draw, I have about €110 going on 8-1. Then I want Kerry to win after the draw. Kerry are the underdogs. I think it will suit Kerry very well being the underdogs. We were the underdogs against Mayo, which was a great day."

He says that his six month old baby Michael Og has his own little green and gold jersey and shorts and is a future Kerry footballer.

"He also has a Clare jersey because his mom's parents are from Clare."

Daithi, whose father Maidhc Dainin died just over a year ago, says the reality of his dad's death truly sank in when he was holding Michael Og two months after he was born. "It hit me then that my father was gone forever. You know, there I was holding the baby and he probably held me as a child as well. "

Daithi says his father was a huge GAA fan and he went to most of the All Irelands since he came back from America. "He had a great love for Donegal always but his heart was always 100pc Kerry. They are both very musical people. "

I ask Daithi to explain to a Jackeen from Churchtown in Dublin suburbia, the difference between Kerry and Donegal people.

"In Kerry," he says, "we have cute hoors - and in Donegal they have a cute accent."

Should the match go the right way for him in Croke Park today, Daithi adds that he mightn't be on the Today show with his-host Maura Derrane tomorrow which is back on RTE after the summer off. "If it's a draw, I'm in the money."

And if Kerry romp home? "Maura," he says addressing Ms Derrane directly, "you might have to get a sub. That's all I'm saying. If it's a good win you can scratch me off for the whole week."

And with that the whole of John B Keane's bar in the Kingdom explodes in laughter once more.

Sunday Independent