Sunday 21 October 2018

Dublin five-in-a-row fears have Kerry in meltdown

David Moran of Kerry in action against Ciaran Reddin, centre, and Bernard Brogan of Dublin
David Moran of Kerry in action against Ciaran Reddin, centre, and Bernard Brogan of Dublin
Dublin's Bernard Brogan. Photo: Sportsfile
Billy Keane

Billy Keane

The snowmen are melting in Kerry this morning. Ours has lost his nose and soon enough the carrot will be in the pot. We dressed him in green and gold, and there's no image that expresses the transient and the ephemeral more than the melting of a snow man.

Whither Kerry football? Are we in meltdown?

Before we go any further I have a question. Why are there no snow women?

I had planned to write a fantasy football piece. The story was to be a fictional report on Saturday's postponed Allianz National Football League game between Kerry and Dublin. Kerry would win well. Stephen Cluxton would give me an exclusive interview if I ever shut up for long enough.

Buckets

And Hill 16 would be quieter than a shop selling buckets and shovels on Skerries beach. Sorry Con.

They say there are men who fantasise over women. More dream of the big win in the Lotto. I hope I never win the Lotto. I would be afraid the money might change me. I dream of beating Dublin.

There was a spring-time custom much favoured by sports writers and pundits from the Kingdom, and it was puffing up Dublin. This was fake news - journalism as abominable as a snowman.

There have been suggestions that I may have been guilty of this scurrilous behaviour in the past.

Let me say now I cannot see any team stopping Dublin winning the four-in-a-row. Mayo will rise again. I so hope they do. Mayo are playing badly at the moment, but it's only March and there was never an All-Ireland won before the cuckoo auditioned for a job in the clock. Or before the swallows started to pack.

No, I will not write that fantasy piece. Jim Gavin might stick it up on the dressing-room wall and say 'look at what they are saying about ye down in Kerry'.

We take football far too seriously to make fun of it all. I have been told the mannequins cry in Killarney when Kerry are beaten by Cork in the Munster final. But the losses to Dublin have led to far more serious consequences.

Kerry got it all wrong last week against Galway, who were very good, even if they did set up very defensively, which is contrary to their tradition of playing open football.

Galway would have won by more if they had cut loose. They are fit, big, fiery and skilful. Kevin Walsh has a great way with him, and players play for him. Galway are genuine contenders.

Kerry can do better. There was too much back-passing. We kicked frees back to our goalkeeper and proceeded to work the ball back out to the same place the free was taken from. It was like trying to stuff money back in to the ATM.

Surely it is time to outlaw the pass-back from frees?

Peter Crowley drove on, as did Paul Murphy. Shane Enright is coming back to form. But too often we stopped our runs and laid off to a colleague in almost the same position.

The kids were very good. They are learning the hard way. Seamus Moynihan always said the League is the best kindergarten.

The good news is we will get as many as four or five players for the Championship. But Eamonn Fitzmaurice must give more game-time to Killian Spillane and Brian Ó Seanacháin.

I'm just hoping the lack of fire, work rate and the loose marking in evidence against Galway are down to a plan to peak later in the year.

Let's have a go this season, with maybe just one sweeper, but no more. The best thing that could happen would be for Dublin to maul us, and they probably will. Hurt nurtures heart.

Meanwhile, the mass evacuation plans are going very well. I'm told that while the winters in South Georgia are harsh, there's plenty of time for origami, and the snowmen never melt.

Many men have taken up knitting this winter, and there are cookery classes with a special emphasis on the preparation of seal, penguin and seagull. The seagulls are very gentle and easy to catch, unlike the murdering, thieving b******s flying over Dublin.

And I'm told blubber is the new olive oil.

The 'Flight from Kerry' will take place in August of 2019, when Dublin become the first county to win five in a row.

Dublin are a team for all time. Four is their just deserve, but five would be too much to take.

I hope Bernard Brogan Jnr makes it back in time for next year's Championship. Dublin would not be heading for the fourth but for Bernard. Or even the first, second or third.

He was underused last year. Gavin, who seldom gets it wrong, left it nearly too late to bring on Brogan in the final. He was central to two end- of-game points. If anyone can make it back it will be Bernard, who has an inner tenacity often masked by his genial and generous off-the-field courtesy.

Heart

One of Moyvane's finest, Jerry Brosnan, passed away during the week. Jerry loved football forever and sang for Kerry in the supporters' bus right to the end of the journey. Jerry had the heart for it, you see.

Our people fought side by side. He was in my dad's class at St Michael's, and the two school pals often sang for hours on end with Jerry's sister Eileen in Brosnan's Bar.

We were often kept late. My mam used to say: "If yourself and your father were going to America, ye would get the pilot to pull up outside Brosnan's of Moyvane."

His friend Sean Walsh, the best man never to become president of the GAA, told us Jerry helped so many in need, without ever so much as a word about it.

To hell then with South Georgia, maudlin mannequins, docile seagulls, five-in-a-rows and running away from home. We will stay and fight for Jerry, and for Kerry.

Irish Independent

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