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Meyler revels in ‘pure hurling’ as his experienced Kilmoyley dig out sweetest win yet

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Kilmoyley manager John Meyler celebrates victory over St Brendans in Sunday's Garvey's County Senior Hurling Championship Final in Austin Stack Park with a Kilmoyley supporter Photo by Domnick Walsh / Eye Focus

Kilmoyley manager John Meyler celebrates victory over St Brendans in Sunday's Garvey's County Senior Hurling Championship Final in Austin Stack Park with a Kilmoyley supporter Photo by Domnick Walsh / Eye Focus

Kilmoyley manager John Meyler celebrates victory over St Brendans in Sunday's Garvey's County Senior Hurling Championship Final in Austin Stack Park with a Kilmoyley supporter Photo by Domnick Walsh / Eye Focus

Kilmoyley manager John Meyler celebrates victory over St Brendans in Sunday's Garvey's County Senior Hurling Championship Final in Austin Stack Park with a Kilmoyley supporter Photo by Domnick Walsh / Eye Focus

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Kilmoyley manager John Meyler celebrates victory over St Brendans in Sunday's Garvey's County Senior Hurling Championship Final in Austin Stack Park with a Kilmoyley supporter Photo by Domnick Walsh / Eye Focus

kerryman

John Meyler shouldn't need much introduction to anyone who watches Kerry hurling, or anywhere else for that matter.

He played both football and hurling for his native Wexford before moving to Cork. He rowed in with St Finbarrs, winning county championships at both hurling and football, and winning an All Ireland with Cork in 1986.

He doesn't just know how to win; he has the rare knack of teaching others the art as well. He managed Kerry to win the coveted Christy Ring Cup in 2012 and has also had successful stints with Wexford, Carlow, and Cork, as well as extensive experience at managing club sides.

This was a very close, very tight contest between great neighbours and even greater North Kerry rivals – and that kind of thing is meat and drink to Kilmoyley's delighted manager.

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“It was pure hurling and that is what you get in the Kerry senior hurling championship, you get pure hurling,” he enthused.

"There are no flies there, no messing around, and its 50-50 in every game. You saw the game that St Brendans brought today. They were outstanding in their hooking and blocking and the determination in their hurling.

"It was just a small bit more composure with Maurice [O’Connor] for the goal and Daniel Collins with the frees that saw us prevail. Our backs were good, Dougie Fitzell and Tom Murnane were outstanding.

"It was down possibly to a small bit of extra experience by our lads that we got over the line on the day.”

John may not be a native Kerry man, but he is steeped in Kerry hurling – and indeed Kilmoyley hurling – and is fully aware of the proud history of the team that he has guided with a maestro's hand to lifting the Neilus Flynn Cup.

“There was huge pressure on today,” he noted.

"Kilmoyley won the county in 1971, fifty years to the day, the 19th of September 1971 Kilmoyley won their second in-a-row. We are honouring that tradition of fifty years on and we won our first here in 2001, twenty years ago, against Ballyheigue. So there was an awful lot of pressure on us to perform today, you know?”

St. Brendans basically tore up the expected script in the first half and made it clear that they certainly weren't here to make up the numbers. Was John getting worried by the time the half-time whistle arrived?

“ No.”

His answer is quick and unequivocal.

“No, it was a silly goal. I think Tom [Murnane] had it and he dropped it and they just found the net with a ground stroke and I think Cian Hussey had mishit the free. We showed great composure and then when Ardfert went six points up we still kept plugging away, kept putting points over.”

One man whose contribution cannot be overstated is that of Adrian Royle. Something of a favourite under John Meyler over the years, the big forward’s introduction in the second quarter sparked something of a revival in Kilmoyley’s fortunes up front.

The fact Royle didn’t start in no way suggests he isn’t or wasn't valued by Meyler. Quite the oppostive.

"Adrian Royle made a massive contribution,” he continued.

"Whether you start Royle or whether you bring him on, his focus isn't always full when you start him, so we decided to bring him on with maybe fifteen, ten minutes to go, and it was a great substitution. and we kept them scoreless for fifteen minutes I reckon.

"Daniel Collins fired over two frees and Jordan Brick scored a great point and then Dáire Nolan slipped when through on goal. Then Adrian Royle came on and made a huge impact and scored a couple of points.”

They all matter in Kerry, but this one maybe mattered a small bit more than most.

“They are all sweet in Kerry,” he says.

"It is great for Kilmoyley, look at the emotion and look at the passion of a very small community really, with very small numbers, but the lads love playing for the jersey and they love playing for Kilmoyley.

"You can see all the kids here with their Kilmoyley jerseys and that is what it is all about.”

For a man who’s almost as Cork as he is Wexford, who’s as Kerry as he is Cork, there’s no doubting that he’s 100% Kilmoyley. Forget about honorary citizenship, the man deserves a full passport.


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