Sunday 18 August 2019

'History a big issue for Gavin's men' - Kearns

Tipp football boss Liam Kearns feels Dublin didn’t the league seriously in order to prepare for their tilt at the All-Ireland five-in-a-row. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Tipp football boss Liam Kearns feels Dublin didn’t the league seriously in order to prepare for their tilt at the All-Ireland five-in-a-row. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Liam Kearns can still remember the 1982 All-Ireland football final between Kerry and Offaly and all its drama.

He travelled to Dublin hoping to see history made and that's exactly what he got - just in a very different way than he expected.

A couple of years later Kearns had forced his way on to the Kerry panel and just to underline their greatness, that team recovered to win three in a row (1984-86) after Seamus Darby's intervention. However, as far as 1982 is concerned, Kearns reckons the weight of history played its part.

He also believes it could be a factor when Dublin come to the business end of the season this year.

"I think Dublin are the team to beat," said the Tipperary manager.

"The only thing I would say is I was around when Kerry lost the five-in-a-row. I got on to the panel myself as a sub after that for the three-in-a-row, I was carried by the greats there for a couple of years, I was one of those extras.

"But like, I would have never seen Kerry beaten with that five-in-a-row team and I certainly didn't think Offaly would beat them.

"I came out of that game in shock. So the weight of history, in my opinion, beat them.

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"The further this thing goes and the more talk there is about it in Dublin, the weight of history is going to weigh heavily on them."

Offaly produced their best at the right time, but Kearns isn't sure whether any of the chasing pack are ready to topple Jim Gavin's men.

"Now the problem is, is there a team out there to take advantage if they are feeling the weight of history? That's the big thing. I thought Galway, if Galway get their full panel 100pc right, that they're not 100 miles away from it.

"Kerry, I think they'll need a bit of time if you're talking about All-Irelands.

"I think Mayo, they have to be considered anyway if you're talking about it and Tyrone are the other team I suppose, but ultimately in normal circumstances if Dublin were playing any of them in the morning, you'd be saying Dublin.

"I'd be inclined to say they're so professional in how they approach things that Dublin seem to have all the answers, so unless the weight of history... As I said, it did do strange things many years ago in the case of Kerry, so we'll just see.

"That's the challenge for Dublin. Can they handle the weight of history? Can they handle the circumstances? They've done one thing...they didn't compete in the Division 1 league as they did in previous years when they'd won it. They certainly didn't seem to take it as seriously.

"That was a nod to the weight of history because they changed what their approach has been for the last three or four years.

"That's interesting, but I think we're grasping at straws really if we think that's an indication they might slip up. I think they're the team to beat, yeah."

And he admitted that Kerry people will feel the sting if the Dubs complete the five-in-a-row.

"I'd say it will (hurt), oh I'd say so, absolutely.

"I was only a minor when Kerry lost and I can still remember it and it was seismic then. I've no doubt that if Dublin do it, it will hurt down in Kerry. Definitely."

Irish Independent

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