ARCHIVES: Roscommon's reason to remember the Sheehys


ROSCOMMON has good reason to remember the name Sheehy. Because in Roscommon's last All-Ireland appearance in 1962 the surname Sheehy cropped up in the Kerry lineout in no less than three positions.

They were all brothers with a football pedigree which could only belong to the purebred class. And when the game ended it was a Sheehy who held aloft the Sam Maguire to the delight of the thousands of Kerry supporters — as defeated Roscommon players made their dreary exit from the pitch.

His name was Sean Óg Sheehy. With his brothers Niall and the late Paudie and the rest of the Kerry players , he ensured that Roscommon's attempt to capture the All-Ireland title for the third time was to fall.

And it's not difficult to understand how these three brothers reached such a high standard of football when one considers that they had as a father the great John Joe who died earlier this year.

This Sunday for the umpteenth time, the Sheehys will make the traditional trip to Croker to witness the All-Ireland final battle between Kerry and Roscommon — the first such pairing since 1962.

Sean Óg, who now works as a teacher in Tralee's Regional Technical College, spoke to us this week about the match. Confidence about Kerry's ability to win was strong with him — but there was also sadness that his brother, Paudie, would not be present to soak up the atmosphere of the great occasion.

The Sheehys and the Tralee John Mitchels club are synonymous. That's where the brothers studied and perfected the craft and they soon graduated up the line — full recognition came when the trio lined out at Croke Park.

And there was not happier man that day than the legendary John Joe who led the Kingdom to two All-Ireland successes in 1926 and 1930.

Turning to Sunday's final, Seán Óg is confident that Kerry are destined for their 26th title. "I think Kerry will win it well," he said.

And as far as Sean Óg is concerned, John Egan is the star of the side. "He has been playing consistently well throughout the years." Seán Óg Sheehy with mascot, future Kerry star Ogie Moran at the 1962 All-Ireland.

Sean Óg says he thought Kerry had the game well in hand against Offaly, but he sounded a word of warning. "I believe the backs are gone back a bit and are not as sharp as they were. And at midfield we need a bit extra to assist the excellent Jack O'Shea. He is a great footballer and Ogie Moran is playing fantastically well at the moment. John O'Keeffe is outstanding in the full-back line," he says.

"This is the most professional side ever in football, but perhaps it might be because they execute the handpass so well," says Seán Óg.

Seán Óg, who was 23 years old when he took the Sam Maguire , has four children three boys and a girl. Already the boys are showing a keen interest in football. Oghie aged 13, plays, not surprisingly, with Mitchels and there is a certain degree of pride in Sean Óg's voice when he says that his eldest son is displaying fairly good ability.

Only time will tell if the Sheehys are destined to pull off a hat-trick with the Sam Maguire.