Monday 16 September 2019

Reeling in the Years: What they said in the build-up to Kerry's 'Drive for Five' against Offaly in 1982

Richie Connor, Offaly captain, left, referee PJ McGrath and Kerry captain John Egan are pictured ahead of the All-Ireland SFC final at Croke Park on September 19 1982. Photo: Connolly Collection/SPORTSFILE
Richie Connor, Offaly captain, left, referee PJ McGrath and Kerry captain John Egan are pictured ahead of the All-Ireland SFC final at Croke Park on September 19 1982. Photo: Connolly Collection/SPORTSFILE
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

In the build-up to the 1982 final and Kerry’s ill-fated ‘Drive for Five’, Offaly manager - the late Eugene McGee - didn’t mince his words. 

In the Friday September 17 edition of that year’s Westmeath-Offaly Independent, the Offaly manager gave a wide ranging interview. And far from the usual platitudes for the opposition we hear now, McGee stated his belief that his side would win the day. 

"I feel in my heart and soul that we will win. It really depends on all the players playing very well. I think they will win. They deserve to win," said McGee.

And while David Gough's appointment as the man in the middle for the Sunday’s decider, McGee had a message for the '82 final referee, May'’s PJ McGrath, with the paper reporting that: "The Offaly trainer would like to see referee PJ McGrath make up his mind about the hand pass.

"He feels that the game could be won and lost on a few decisions and therefore it is vital that the players know here they stand."

And if McGee was hoping to ramp up pressure on match officials, he was in no doubt that the occasion of a fifth successive title could weight heavily on Mick O'Dwyer's men.

"You mustn't forget that Kerry will be under intense pressure. Losing would mean that they will go down in the history books as the team that blew the five in a row."

The article continues: "Smiling McGee imitates Kerry people's comment on Kerry losing: 'All they have to do was beat Offaly' and they threw it away."

GAA Newsletter

Expert GAA analysis straight to your inbox.

Online Editors

The Throw-In: Selection dilemma for Dublin and All-Ireland ladies football final preview

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Also in Sport