Thursday 21 November 2019

Mick O'Connell

Mick O'Connell in action for Kerry in 1968
Mick O'Connell in action for Kerry in 1968

You have to wonder, how would Kerry's Mick O'Connell fare in modern-day Gaelic football?

He revelled in the catch-and-kick nature of the game, in the challenge of competing one-to-one in the air with a worthy opponent and looking to come down with clean possession.

In the book Gaelic Football's Top 20, O'Connell said: "That negative thing was never part of my game and I cannot understand how true-blue amateurs go out to play and just have obstructionist tactics like that instead of doing the best they can."

He learned his football on Valentia Island. There he spent many hours training with friends and neighbours, and many more training on his own.

The simplicity of life on the island was reflected in the simplicity and elegance of his approach to the game. He played in 10 All-Ireland finals, winning four.

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