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Kerry supporters in Croke Park

Kerry supporters in Croke Park

Kerry supporters in Croke Park

THE roof of Geaney's Pub in Dingle nearly lifted when the whistle blew at full time - but it was only the second loudest cheer of the day.

The first had come after just 50 seconds of play when local hero Paul Geaney put the ball in the back of the net.

It was the best of outcomes for the west Kerry town that's claiming a huge part in both the victories of the minor and senior teams in a historic day for Kerry football.

"The roof was raised off the place. All the locals know Paul and we're delighted for him when you see the commitment he puts in," said barman Alan Devane.

Up the road at Barr na Sraide on Goat Street, a crowd had gathered at the home of Mike Geaney, cheering loudly as the cousins picked up the Sam Maguire together, Paul taking a moment to nod heavenward, no doubt thinking of his mother Chris, who passed away in March.

It was the proudest of days for Killarney club Dr Crokes that contributed nine of its players to the extended senior and junior panels, including joint captains Fionn Fitzgerald and Kieran O'Leary, and Man of the Match Micheal Burns on the minor team.

Club chairman Ger O'Shea said: "It's a very proud day for us and we'll have our traditional homecoming for our players on Tuesday night to celebrate."

A huge crowd packed into Paidi O Se's pub in Ard a' Bhothair in Ventry owned by the late Kerry legend and member of the country's most decorated GAA family.

But it was a day tinged with sadness for Paidi's close friend, John L O'Sullivan, who was watching the All-Ireland in the pub for the first time ever. He'd usually be in Dublin.

"We'd leave here at 9am on Saturday and the first stop was a haircut in Dingle and then onto Dublin via Listowel where we'd stop off to see Mary Keane (widow of playwright John B)," he recalled.

"The last All-Ireland before he died he handed out 123 tickets to politicians, business people and friends," he added.

Bonfires will be lighting all over The Kingdom tonight to welcome home the teams.

Majella O'Sullivan

Irish Independent