Wednesday 11 December 2019

Billy Keane: 'Enjoy your retirement - but don't come back any time soon'

Brian Fenton. Photo: Sportsfile
Brian Fenton. Photo: Sportsfile
Billy Keane

Billy Keane

Let us give thanks now that he is gone. That man tormented us. But the damage is done and the five in-a-row is won.

He could be playing possum. Jayo apparently left too at the start of the year, but he came back. It could be a trick. The Dublin coach might be trying to get us to ease off over the winter. To lift less weights and eat chips.

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We dare not mention his name. The Law of Attraction kicks in and the very act of speaking summons him back again to the managing of Dublin. Harry Potter has taught us as much.

Yes, there is necromancy and sorcery going on. The very name Dublin, or Dubh Linn, means the Black Pool. And deep he is, and black is the colour of opaque.

We know so little about he whose name we dare not say.

Mick O'Dwyer, the wizard of Waterville, kept his privacy by not having any secrets.


He was smart was Micko. Kerry is too small for secrets. But he who beat us has kept his private life private, as he is well entitled to do.

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You could never guess what he was thinking. His face gave nothing away. Inside his head was an abacus with only five beads. The count was his quest.

There was no point in trying for a psychological profiling because no one knew who he was. He who shall not be named won and won again, and a few more times after that. But he never told us how.

It could be that the maker of magic has been signed up to run the Russian Air Force. Putin is a fan. Maybe Donald Trump offered him the American job with a high five. It's a sure route to world domination.

He has the background from his time in our air force. And he has ruled the air for five years with Brian Fenton. We are sick of five. As we speak, the scientists in IT Tralee are growing mice with six fingers on each hand.

That number should be struck from mathematics. Five is like 666. When the school kids in Kerry learn how to count, the teacher goes 1, 2, 3, 4, 2 plus 3, six and so on.

It's a pity he's gone. There won't be half as much fun in beating Dublin now. Could it be he knew his time was up and Kerry were coming after him? Was he scared of having to do a press conference and say Kerry were the better team.

I doubt it. Maybe he could have gone on to win another 20. I can read the headlines: 'Nonagenarian wins the 25-in-a-row.' That's if there are any newspapers left. He wasn't exactly top copy. There will be no book of his favourite sayings like Brian Clough or Bill Shankly or Páidí.

I'm sure the unnamed has said many funny and inspirational quotes over the years. But the only ones who ever heard his collectibles kept them secret.

I was often thinking of making up a few for him. Our colleagues across the water were great for making up Royal Family quotes because they knew the Royal Family never sued anyone. Well, that was until lately when some of them issued writs alleging breach of privacy. But he never had any bother keeping his secrets. Not one player ever broke the omerta. Some camps have more leaks than Irish Water. But Dublin, nothing.

Yes, there were rumours all was not well when Diarmuid Connolly returned. But there was no outburst. it seems incredible in these times that secrets have been kept. Every camp has fights. But when the team are winning the bad news is kept in-house.

Donegal stopped Dublin securing the seven-in-a-row with a cunning defensive plan. Some say he was outsmarted. I would say it was more of a case that his players might have been a little bit overconfident and Donegal were very good that day. That wasn't his fault. He surely warned them.

Maybe The Dub genuinely respects the other 31 counties he eventually subjugated. Dublin beat them all, except The Cats, but even Cody couldn't win five.

No name is cute. Don't give them anything to be seething about when they are sitting by the fire over the winter. Bad blood and hurt win All-Irelands.

The worst part is there is nothing bad to be said about him. Yes, he was ruthless and it could be he saw Micko was maybe too loyal.

For the most part his team played superb, attacking football. They were humble.

I know some of the players. You couldn't meet nicer. Brian Fenton (left) was in Dublin Airport and I met him on my way to Japan. We had a good chat. Do you know what he asked me? I swear this to be true. "Billy is there any chance I could have a selfie?" So the greatest midfielder of his time asks me for a selfie. Really. It was the highlight of my career.

The Bane's teams, and there were at least two, gave Dublin back her identity. It was a rebranding and a reunification. Dublin became the saviours of the old game in times when coaches had forsaken art and vandalised the game we love.

He stayed ahead of the rest and was at his best over the last two years when Dublin reached new levels of fitness.

And when Croke Park was hotter than a grow house, the man whose name we dare not say was calm.

Enjoy your retirement, and don't even think of coming back any time soon.

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