Famous Games

A unique account of the 1929 All Ireland Final

by Weeshie Fogarty

Kerry's Route to the final

Kerry 1-7 Cork 1-3
Kerry 1-14 Clare 1-2
Kerry 3-8 Mayo 1-1

The Teams were 
                                    John Riordan 1 (goal)

D. O'Connor 4              J Barrett   3                   J Walsh 2
J. Curtis                          P. Pringle                        T. Wheeler

P Russell  7                   J. O'Sullivan  6             T O'Donnell 5
Paul Doyle                    W. Gannon                      P. Martin

                     R Stack  9          C Brosnan  8
                     P. Loughlin      J. Loughlin          

J Ryan 12                                                              JJ Landers  11
F. Malone                                                          M. Fennerel
                                    M Doyle 10
                                    J. Higgins 
J J Sheehy (capt) 13   E Sweeney 14                 J Baily 15
J. Hayes                        M. Goff                           A. Fitzpatrick

                                    J. Reilly

Match Report  from The Kerryman September 28 1929

Kerry Win Back Their Lost Title

The meeting of Kerry and Kildare in the All Ireland Football Final was the great lodestone which attracted Gaels in their thousands to Croke Park on Sunday.

Never previously had such interest been centred in any Irish sporting event. For weeks past it was the sole topic of Gaeldom. From Errigal to Carnsore Point Irishmen anxiously looked forward to the great tussle. For a quarter of a century Kildare and Kerry have been the non-pareils of the Gaelic Football world. They have served up the most brilliant and spectacular football the Association has known. The fans were assured of a rousing battle for supremacy, ample recompense for the lengthy journey to the Metropolis.

Both teams trained specially for the event. An elaborate train service had been arranged which tapped the most distant counties. Fro the past few weeks the Kingdom was agog with excitement. From the uttermost confines of the county fans began to collect in Tralee early on Saturday. They came from the extreme end of the Dingle Peninsula and Iveragh, from along the Shannon, and the Roughty, Young, and old they came, boys and girls, to cheer the Kingdom to victory.

The first contingent to the number of 1,000 left Kerry on Saturday evening. Four further specials left on Sunday morning. Huge crowds travelling likewise from Limerick, Cork and Clare, all wearing the Kingdom's Green and Gold.

Dublin's streets were early astir on Sunday morning. Everywhere one beheld rival colours of the combatants. Opinion in Dublin as to the result of the game was pretty evenly divided. From noon on living streams flowed into Croke Park. Half an hour before the big game started all attendance records were broken and all gates locked. This was a precaution, for a few more thousand in addition to those massed around the enclosure, packing the embankments and squatting to the turf, would have made matters unpleasant. The attendance was officially given as 43,839 and the gate £4,010 – records in both instances.

The day ruled delightfully fine with a brilliant but not dazzling sun, tempered by a gentle wind. The ground too, was in excellent condition, and the arrangements under the supervision of Messrs. Sean Ryan and Padraig O'Keeffe were all that could be desired. The scene was a heartening one, and is evidence of the hold Gaelic football has on the Irish public. Prior to the big match selections from the Dublin Transport Workers' Band whiled away the time. Two Piper Bands were also in attendance.

The All White Champions were first to appear on the pitch to the accompaniment of prolonged cheering. But the cheering was surpassed in intensity and volume as the Green and Gold jerseys gradually filed out.

After the photographic and other preliminaries, cheering was renewed as Most Rev. Dr. Cullen, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, walked between the opposing captains to the centre of the field. The backs took up their positions, Kerry facing a brilliant sun and against a slight wind. A few seconds later his Lordship threw in the ball and the great struggle for All-Ireland honours had begun.

The leather hovered among a cluster of players for some seconds. Sullivan lashed it out to reach O'Donnell. O'Donnell's long drop went to Baily, who drove across the posts. Goff blocked the ball, but Ryan got on the clearance, and his long delivery sailed wide.

Kildare, moving in, got a free. Russell, clearing from a bunch of players, was fouled but Frank Malone speedily returned the free, and Barrett's clearance sailed into the crowd base of "Hill 60." Russell got the touch throw, and his kick left Sheehy in possession. He was fouled. Brosnan placed the ball well. Hayes gave a 50. Mico Doyle secured, but Goff cleared his shot and the leather came to Joe Loughlin. Joe Sullivan stopped the rush and was fouled. The Free was sent back by Hayes. The Loughlins secured and hand passed. Paul Doyle got possession, and his parting shot just missed.

Paul Doyle roamed here, there and everywhere. He received from the goal kick, and a great left punt hoisted the white flag for the Champions after six minutes play. Joe Loughlin sent back the kick out. Russell sprang for the ball, side-stepping two opponents, and drove away. He was fouled, but Higgins returned from the free, and Gannon missed from the angle.

O'Donnell got the kick-out, but Kerry fouled at midfield. Russell eased a dangerous situation. Sheehy dribbed from Russell's pass and got a free. Landers was left in possession. He drove into Mico Doyle, who forced a 50. Hayes cleared this and Kildare burst through in a dazzling movement. Paul Doyle secured, and the Leinster following raised a great cheer as the Kildare sharpshooter drove high between the upright for the champions second point.

Kerry dashed away with the kick out. Sheehy held the ball and steadied himself. A grand left punt sailed under the bar for Kerry's opening minor. The cheers had scarcely died out when Kerry came again. Doyle sent to Sweeney, who centred. Sheehy again got the ball near the corner. He rounded Fitzpatrick and drove straight and true between the sticks for the equaliser.

The Kerryman played with bewildering dash. Ryan got the kickout. He passed to Sweeney who put the Kingdom a point ahead after ten minutes play.

Play came to the Kerry end, a long kick from Martin rolling wide. Vigorous play followed the kick-out. Kildare got a free on the 50. Russell cleared this. Ryan got the ball from a hop. He transferred to Baily, who centred. Goff cleared in the goalmouth and the leather reached the midfield. Stack, showing up well at midfield was fouled. The free was speedily returned. Brosnan eluded Loughlin and drove into the square. Baily's punch went wide.

Play returned to the Kerry end. Walsh and Sullivan cleared in turn before Kildare got a free near the Hill 60 corner. Paul Doyle centre, and Russell gave a 50 to clear. Jack Higgins's long kick sailed wide. Joe Sullivan secured a high ball near midfield, but was fouled. Sheehy got possession from the free, but was again fouled close in. John Joe took the kick, and made the scores four points to two in favour of Kerry.

Kildare worked away from the kick. Hynan sent in a great centre and Russell was applauded for a telling clearance. Vigorous play followed at midfield before Kerry pressed for an attack. Sweeney was fouled and Sheehy added a further point to the Kingdom's total from the free. 

Malone and Joe Loughlin opened up for Kildare. Sullivan stopped them and Kerry burst upfield. Ryan had a free, which bounded off Baily's hands across to Sweeney. Sweeney lashed at the ball and a grand oblique shot hit the far up-right and slithered through for a goal – the first to pass Reilly in this year's championship.

Scenes of the wildest enthusiasm followed. Kerry were all over their opponents and they quickly returned the kick-out. Goff cleared a great drive from Sheehy, and the ball soared to midfield. Sullivan was fouled hereabouts. Landers got from the free and a long drive sailed a yard wide of the upright. A further free to Kerry was cleared by Hayes before Sheehy went wide.

Kildare tried to break away from the goal kick, but the Kerry halves were unbeatable. Sullivan jumped high for a flying ball, and play was on the Kildare 50 when the short whistle went with Kerry scoring a substantial lead in the scores:-

Kerry – 1 goal 5 points

Kildare – 2 points


With the sun and slight wind in the favour, it was generally expected Kerry would win by a huge score. Kildare however, made four changes in their forward placings, and the changes brought improvement.

Kildare resumed in lively fashion. Loughlin started a clever hand-passing movement along the wing. Eventually Paul Doyle received, to drive wide. Russell changed the scene of action. Doyle, who was playing Higgins well, got possession on the 50. He was fouled, and Brosnan sent wide. A vigorous attack by Kerry was held up by Fennerel before Doyle sent wide for Kerry. Kildare broke away along the wing. Doyle passed to Martin. Martin's drop about thirty yards out went straight to the net and bounded through off Riordan's fingers for the Major Score.

Kerry's lead was now reduced to three points, and the goal gave renewed heart to the Kildare men. Back the All White came again. A tussle in front of the Kerry posts resulted in a hop, the ball just going wide.

Kerry moving outfield, were stopped by Malone, who was outstanding for Kildare. Sullivan returning for Kerry, was fouled. Barrett's free went into touch in Kildare territory. Another free to Kerry followed, from which Mico Doyle secured. He was fouled on the 21. Sheehy lobbed the ball into the square. Goff secured from a cluster and punted outfield.

Vigorous play here resulted in an injury to Stack. After some minutes he resumed.

Two frees to Kildare put the Kerry sticks in danger. Connor cleared the second into touch. Loughlin got the throw in and sent Kildare into the attack. Kerry fouled about 40 yards out. Doyle took the free and drove straight for the Kerry net. Connor got the ball under the bar and with the Kildare forwards charging him, threw the ball wide of the upright for a 50. It was a wonderful clearance.

The Kerrymen fell back in defence as Doyle took the free. Brosnan cleared in the goalmouth, and the Kingdom broke away. Barrett had a long free, which went to Landers in a nice position, but an over resulted.

Two Kildare men collided in a fierce charge near the Kerry line and were laid out. They resumed soon after, and Kildare returned to the attack. Sullivan, playing a wonderful game for Kerry, drove them back, but Martin put Kildare again on the attack. A fierce tussle near the Kerry goal saw Kildare get a free. Barrett's kick was got by Ryan and returned by Fitzpatrick. Sullivan stemmed a likely Kildare movement, but relief was only temporary. Paul Doyle burst through, tapping the ball on his arms, and sent wide at close range.

With the laurels slipping from their grasp, Kildare played up with rare vim. They moved in from a touch throw, but Connor drove them back. A free to Kerry brought great relief. The leather reached Brosnan, who punted into Kildare ground. Sheehy dashed past Fitzpatrick and sent over the bar for a further Kerry point.

Kildare responded in gallant style. They got a free about midfield. Higgins drove up to Paul Doyle, and a grand left punt reduced Kerry's lead to a goal.

Amid shouts of "Come on, Kildare" from their followers, the All Whites again attacked along the left wing. Malone, Higgins, Loughlin and Doyle flung the leather, Rugby fashion, to each other. As usual, Doyle was left in possession close in. With deadly accuracy, he sent a further point. Kerry's lead was now reduced to two points, and while the Kingdom appeared to tire, Kildare were playing with wonderful speed. A free at midfield to Kildare was followed by another. At about thirty yards out Paul Doyle took the kick, and the white flag went up. Kerry's lead was now reduced to a single point ( 1-6 to 1-5) with ten minutes to go.

Excitement now rose, and it was anybody's game. The Kildare men charged down upon the Kerry backs who defended in grim fashion. The Kerrymen broke the onslaught, and Stack drove into touch near Kildare 21. Joe Loughlin got the ball and stared a further hand passing movement. A foul spoiled but Goff returned the kick. Stack responded and the ball went to Sheehy, who kicked wide.

Kildare worked away with the goal kick. Doyle and Pringle (who had moved out to the 40) combined cleverly. Pringle had a great chance in a nice position. His long kick lost the equalising score by a yard.

Kildare came in again along the wing. Barrett stopped the rush. Stoppages for minor injuries were numerous, but the players were able to resume. A free to Kildare was stopped by Russell. His low lengthy drop went to Sweeney, who sent wide.

Kerry roused themselves in characteristic style. A headlong rush upfield left Sheehy in possession. He passed over to Landers, who sent home a further point. Kerry drove back the kick-out. Sheehy sprinted in and crashed over the bar a great point. The final whistle arrived with Kerry once more Champions of Ireland after a hard fought game on the scores.

Final Score
Kerry: 1 goal and 8 points
Kildare: 1 goal and 5 points.

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