Saturday 20 January 2018

Galvin's 'rap' puts rhythm back in kerry

Billy Keane

Billy Keane

This was as good as an All-Ireland. Kerry have finally quelled the 10-year Tyrone rebellion with a 10-point win. Three defeats in a row to Tyrone cut deep -- a blot on an almost perfect career copybook.

The boys of the old brigade never gave up. Aidan O'Mahony and Tomas O Se played as if their years of toil were no more than a scroll back through an online calendar. Marc O Se of the mazy ways is the best defender in Ireland.

Eoin Brosnan was clever and cool. Declan O'Sullivan kicked points while he was hanging off the side of his marker like a Cossack trick rider.

Kieran Donaghy is back and in his glorious pomp.

Killian Young and Donnacha Walsh served shorter sentences in the Tyrone jail and they, too, gave their all.

And the Gooch would find space for a Giant Sequoia in a box of matches.

It is, indeed, a tribute to Tyrone that this win means so much to us. Three times they plundered the family silver from our grasp and on each occasion they were the better team.

Alas, a few of their number let the county down. There were bad tackles from both sides, but it was persistent from Tyrone.

However, then you had Eoin Mulligan, scorer of the wonder-goal that changed a county's destiny. He wore a Kerry jersey and mixed with the crowd after the game.

This is the Tyrone we will focus on, the Tyrone of Peter Canavan, Sean Cavanagh, Stephen O'Neill and Brian Dooher. Footballing immortals all.

Mickey Harte looked tired and a little frail as he offered his congratulations to the Kerry team.

He will be back and we wish him well.

No doubt Mickey will spend the rest of the summer minding his family and maybe taking a few sessions with the U-12s.

Like most of us, he is hopelessly in thrall to the holy game of Gaelic football.

Yes, on days like this, it is a holy game and the Kerry goal was fashioned from a mesmeric combination of skill, brains, speed and guile.

When we attack all out, with no feck-acting, football becomes a great game again.

Kerry brought in pace and fresh faces.

We now have a bench that can change games, like Darran O'Sullivan did against Westmeath when he kept us in the championship

New boy Shane Enright messed up with his first touch, but he wasn't going to look back and he marked the north Kerry way, on the shoulder, hard and fast.

James O'Donoghue has speed and balance. He is a Kerry footballer to his very core.

The old ghosts who haunt this stadium must have leapt for joy at the sight of the high fielding from Bryan Sheehan and Anthony Maher.

They not only jumped over their opponents, but through them as well, a la Darragh O Se.

Goalkeeper Brendan Kealy steered the ball to his outside men with a perfect joystick. I'd hate to have to take him on at Playstation.

tackle

Paul Galvin was a DJ on Radio Kerry the night before the game and he set the tone with his Man of the Match rap. Galvin won every breaking ball and he threw himself headlong into every tackle.

This was the winning of it.

And what about Jack O'Connor? Last week the manager was only a wave of a flag from the sack. He got all the calls right this time.

Jack will tell his boys we've won nothing yet, but this was stand-alone history. Now he can face Mickey Harte as an equal.

Eamon Fitzmaurice and Diarmuid Murphy are his two sound lieutenants. Both are football past pupils and close friends.

Ger O'Keeffe is the man from the Golden Years who has been with Jack from the start.

His Kerry players seethed at the suggestion we were scared of the north. Our integrity as a county and our courage as a race of people was put into question.

Oh but the critics must feel very silly, indeed, this morning.

Not one Kerry man stood back. Not one Kerry man gave in.

The Emperor wears clothes. The Emperor wears green and gold.

Irish Independent

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