| 7.3°C Dublin

kerry will push dubs to their limit

THE banter will be flying......all the way from Hueston to the Kingdom Come.

Memories of the Showtime Express that led to the Gleneagle Hotel.

The Dubs travelling in their thousands to see Joe Cuddy, Joe Dolan and Dickie Rock.

Next Sunday, Kerry v the Dubs at Fitzgerald Stadium will be the main event.

The picturesque ground that is overlooked by the Macgillycuddy Reeks.

Back in 2006, Val Andrews was in the house. Sitting up on the wooden seats behind the far goal. Kerry v Longford in the All-Ireland qualifiers.

Longford came with high hopes, a decent side, and Paul Barden.

Jack O'Connor unveiled Kieran Donaghy. The new Bomber was born. Kerry would win the All-Ireland that year.

It was the same in 1997. Ken Murray has fond memories of taking on that team.

He was playing for Dublin. An Ghaeltacht were opening their new ground.

"That was a good day. You had fellas playing like Séamus Moynihan, Darragh Ó Sé, Mikey Frank Russell and Maurice Fitzgerald.

"It was a very enjoyable occasion. And when the game was over, it was over.

"That's always the way it is with Kerry and Dublin. The football is always so pure.

"The players give it their best. The game is played in a good spirit. "And I think it will be the same again this Sunday. Dublin v Kerry is always a game to look forward to."

Ken was one of the top midfielders of Dublin football. He played for Ballyboden St Enda's.

"I had a good innings in Dublin club football, 1983 to 2003. That was a long stretch, but not as long as somebody like the great Joe McNally."

These days, Ken is with Lucan Sarsfields. Mick Casey Senior is a good friend.

Mick is from Kerry "He said he marked me once,"smiles Ken.

Mick's son, Paul, was a Dublin stalwart. "He was 13 years with Dublin. He's such a role-model in Lucan. And now he's out coaching the U14's.

"We are all delighted to see Emmet O Conghaile's progress. He is a super footballer.

"He's very athletic. He's very strong. He's doing really well."

Ken played with another Dublin diamond, Michael Darragh Macauley.

"He was just starting out at the time and I was winding down. He is such a phenomenal athlete. He brings so much to the team. Wonderful energy."

Ken likes the way the 2015 Dubs are being moulded by Jim Gavin.

"He's bringing players in. They are getting their chance, which is good to see.

"And all the lads that have come in have done well. They are all pretty experienced, having won All-Ireland U21 medals, etc.

"I think Dublin have set up slightly defensively this season, but only slightly. And I feel that is a good thing. It suits them.


"They were unfortunate to lose the opening game against Cork. But Cork away is never easy.

"But they recovered well against Donegal in Croke Park. They didn't concede any goals, and that is always a fair achievement against Donegal, especially with Michael Murphy in the side.

"Kerry are in a similar position going into Sunday. They lost at home to Mayo but they beat Derry away.

"Tommy Walsh coming back from Australia has added a buzz to the Kerry team. And it's sure to be interesting to see how they perform against Dublin.

"I'm sure they will be determined to put things right in front of their home crowd after losing to Mayo.

"But no matter what, Kerry won't panic. We saw that last year. The league wasn't going well, but Eamonn Fitzmaurice just kept at it.

"And, of course, when a Kerry team gets to Croke Park, they know how to win."

Ken played with some prized winners himself. He helped Ballyboden win their first Dublin Senior Football Championship crown in 1995.

His colleagues included Darren Homan, Paul Bealin and Brian Stynes. And also Paul Curran from Valentia Island, who, sadly, died last year.

Ken eventually became a Dublin Master, helping the county to All-Ireland success.

He played at midfield alongside John O'Leary. The likes of Mick Deegan, Paul Nugent, Jack Sheedy, Kieran Duff and Big Joe were also on that side.

Ken feels that Jack McCaffrey is a young master, just like the Dad.

He rejoiced at his wonder goal against Donegal. "He is a superb footballer. He has such electrifying pace."

Ken also is a member of the Diarmuid Connolly Fan Club. "A marvellous talent. So gifted. And he brings in all those that play around him."


Ken suggests that Diarmuid's St Vincent's colleague, Hugh Gill, is also a fine player.

"He has been in excellent form in the last couple of years. He's a terrific man-marker. I think he'd do well for the Dubs."

Getting the win in Killarney won't be easy. "No, that's for sure. Playing against Kerry away you are always going to be put to the pin of your collar.

"The games in the National League are just so intense and compelling now. More so than ever before. Just like Dublin against Donegal the last night.

"It will be interesting to see what teams are picked. And how they set up. It's a hard one to call."

But as the legendary Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh would say - Dublin v Kerry is always a great game to call.

Ken would agree.