Famous Games

A unique account of the 1932 All Ireland Final

by Weeshie Fogarty

Kerry's Route to the Final

Munster Semi-Final Kerry 1-7 Limerick 0-2
Munster Final          Kerry 3-10 Tipperary 1-4
Semi Final                Kerry 1-10 Dublin 3-2

The Teams were

                                    D. O'Keeffe
D. O'Connor             J. Barrett                       J. Walsh
J. Forde                      P. Moclair                      G. Courell

P. Russell                  J. O'Sullivan                  P. Whitty
P. Flannelly               T. J. Hanley                     P. Munnelly    

                            R. Stack            J. Walsh
                           M. Ormsby         M. Mulderrig        

C. Geaney               M. Doyle                         T. Landers
G. Ormsby               J. O'Malley                     T. Tunney

J. Ryan                   C. Brosnan                     J.J. Landers
P. Kelly                   P. Quinn                          J. Gannon
                                 T Burke

Match Report from The Kerryman Friday Oct 1st 1931

Kerry's Fourth Successive All-Ireland Championship Win

The All-Ireland Football Final invariably furnishes the biggest attraction in the Gaelic world. This year however, the customary enthusiasm was lacking, for most believe that Kerry would experience little difficulty in retaining their title at the expense of Mayo. This belief was reflected in the attendance of 25,816, which was the smallest in recent years. Unfavourable weather was, however, a contributory factor.

Though the outlying districts of Kerry sent in their quota to Croke Park, the Kingdom's hosting did not reach the proportions of other years. These was a huge contingent from Mayo, and the West generally.

Dublin opinion favoured a Kerry win, but the early arrivals from Connacht displayed unbounded confidence.

Rain fell heavily in the city in the small hours of Sunday morning but later, conditions improved. About mid-day the sun shone gloriously.

We saw the real Kerry for 20 minutes after the change of ends at Croke Park – a Kerry bewildering in their combination, perplexing in their anticipation, and dynamic in bursting through the gaps – "J. N. S." in the "Irish Press"

The opening match between Cork and Roscommon for the junior semi-final was played before a sparse attendance. With the approach of the big match the ground quickly filled, but there were many empty side-line seats. The junior match was a somewhat tame affair. Cork had run up a seven points lead when Roscommon came with a great rally and went in front. Cork strove desperately near the end and with ordinary luck should have won.

Near the conclusion of the match a heavy downpour swept the ground driving many of the spectators of shelter. When the big match was due there was a further shower. The teams remained in the stand until conditions improved. As the teams marched around the pitch headed by the Dublin Transport Workers' Brass and reed Band, the sun made a welcome re-appearance. The teams marched to the centre, the band played the National Anthem and all stood to attention. Mayo wore green and red jerseys while Kerry were attired in their well-known green and gold.

Beautiful conditions prevailed when the Most Rev. Dr. Heffernan, bishop of Zanzibar, a native of Kerry, threw in the ball, and lasted through the afternoon.

The Kerry team usually shot to "settle down" took some time to get into their stride. The opening stages were entirely in favour of Mayo and three quick points gave them a flying start. Kerry improved as the game advanced but still Mayo had the better of matters, noticeably at midfield where Johnny Walsh and Stack were slow to understand each other. Mayo fully deserved their three points lead at half-time.

Yes; when we got something of the real Kerry, it wrote finis to Mayo's hopes and aspirations. The Connacht  champions did not fate out of the picture – they were blotted out. – "J. N. S." in the "Irish Press"

Kerry were a transformed team on the resumption and when Ryan and Tim Landers changed places there was a big improvement. Tim Landers was the outstanding player of the thirty and a great goal by him just after the start tied the scores. Kerry had altogether the better of matters for the ensuing twenty minutes. Play was almost entirely confined to Mayo ground and Kerry had a five point lead.

After that the Kingdom took matters somewhat easily and the Mayo forwards were often close to the Kerry sticks, with our backs far out field. A surprise goal by Mayo roused interest in a game which had become one-sided and the final few minutes produced exciting play. Kerry were three points ahead at the last whistle but could have won by a much bigger margin.

Mayo were well served in defence all through, their goalman giving a good display. In the second half Mayo lost control at midfield and the entire team slowed up unaccountably. They rallied pluckily towards the end, but Kerry were without doubt a much superior team and excelled at fielding, combination and field craft.

The Kerry defence was not as reliable as usual and took great liberties with the opposing forwards. Connor was in great form. The halves improved later, and Russell led up many attacks, while Joe Sullivan showed his worth mainly in defence. Stack was a great worker all through and in the second half, Johnny Walsh showed his true form.

The Kerry forwards were far better than against Dublin, the brothers Landers being the pick. At the conclusion of the match, Mr. Sean McCarthy, President of the Association presented the Sam Maguire Cup to Mr. Joe Barrett, the Kerry Captain, who suitably replied.


Kerry defended the Railway goal, but neither side had the advantage as the wind had died down. The surface was very slippery. On the throw in Mayo were away but Whitty drop-kicked. Ormsby sent back and the Mayo forwards hand-passed through the defence, but Forde at the corner missed a good chance.

The goal kick was quickly returned and another resulted. Mayo were showing up in surprisingly good form. Mulderrig sent in a long ball and a Kerry back fouled at close range. From the free Courell raised the white flag amid tremendous cheering from the Western followers.

Ormsby and Mulderrig showed up well at midfield. The Kerry kick was sent back and Flannelly cleverly passed to Moclair who drove over the bar for Mayo's second point. The kick out was sent back and there was tremendous enthusiasm when Munnelly kicked over the cross-bar, putting Mayo three points in front after five minutes' play.

Mayo's big chance was in the first half, when Kerry's reputed smooth working machine was anything but that. In fact just the reverse- as though someone had used grit as lubrication oil.

But Mayo could not grasp their nettle. At their best, they were little or no better than-should we say it-Kerry at their worst, or should I say, pretty near it.
– "J. N. S." in the "Irish Press"

Kerry had not yet found their feet and Mayo were much faster on the ball. Stack burst through near midfield and Kerry had a free. Whitty missed the greasy ball the leather sailing badly wide. Mayo were dominating centre-field and a long ball by Mulderrig reached the Kerry ground. Connor brushed Forde aside and fielded confidently to drive a long ball to midfield. Here Kerry had a free. Tim Landers got possession, and closely watched, he sent wide. Kerry showed improvement and Walsh sent in a long kick. Gainey secured but was wide of the mark. Kerry came in again. Ryan side-stepped Quinn and lobbed to Gainey who was bottled up and Burke (goal) ran out to clear in great style from Doyle. Kerry kept to the attack and had a free near the wing. Brosnan's kick bounded off a defender's hand for a 50.

Barrett's free landed in the goalmouth, and with Kerry swarming to the attack, a foul spoiled. Another free to Mayo brought play into the Kerry ground. Sullivan returned. From a free to Kerry Brosnan forced his way through for a fifty. Whitty's kick landed in the goalmouth and Doyle in a cluster; with a great left drive sent under the bar, setting the scores level after eleven minutes' play.

Kerry had a free after the kickout, but Ormsby sent this back and Sullivan punted strongly into Mayo ground. Kerry fouled close in and Russell returned the kick in brilliant style. Mayo broke away, but Connor proved a great stumbling block and Bob Stack dashed in to miss at close range.

A free to Kerry gave them a footing and when a score looked likely the Kingdom were penalised for fouling. Mayo had another free at about thirty yards range. Ormsby who was outstanding, returned this, but a long kick from Sullivan left play in Mayo ground. Russell sent a long drop to J. J. Landers. He was pounced upon but passed to his brother. A nice left punt just sailed over the bar putting Kerry in front after nineteen minutes had gone.

Mayo went clean away from the kickout, and Moclair receiving about 20 yards out, kicked high between the uprights levelling the scores at 4 points each. The kickout was sent back and O'Keefe was called upon to save. A free to Kerry left play around midfield. J. Walsh sent in a long kick which Kelly returned but Russell secured at the 50 and his long drop was barely wide of the sticks. A desperate rush by Mayo saw Connor collide with an opponent and Mayo went in to hit the wrong side of the net. After a short stoppage Connor resumed amid Kerry cheering.

Neither collectively nor individually do I think Mayo were to be compared with Kerry- that is the Kerry we saw in the second half, when they went on their scoring spree and rampage.
– "J. N. S." in the "Irish Press"

A great kick by the Mayo captain who was playing a fine game, reached Moclair in a grand position. He missed badly. Mayo came in again and Munnelly crossed in front of the Kerry posts. Courell rushed in and punched the ball past O'Keefe into the net, putting the Connacht champions one goal in front. There were scenes of indescribable enthusiasm among the Mayo supporters.

This reverse was a signal for a Kerry break-away. Stack led a great rush and Russell drove wide from far out. The kick-out was sent back. J. J. Landers worked along the wing. He tried for a goal but Burke fisted away two hot-shots at his net. After the kick-out Kerry had another free near midfield. Doyle got possession from this and when Kerry appeared set for a score the short whistle went leaving Mayo leading by:-

Mayo – 1 goal 4 points
Kerry – 1 goal  1 point

Mayo's lead was fully deserved on the run of play.


New Kerry positions

                                   D. O'Keeffe

D. O'Connor             J. Barrett                       J. Walsh
J. Forde                      P. Moclair                      G. Courell

P. Russell                  J. O'Sullivan                  P. Whitty
P. Flannelly               T. J. Hanley                     P. Munnelly    

                            R. Stack            J. Walsh
                           M. Ormsby         M. Mulderrig        

C. Geaney               M. Doyle                        J. Ryan *                 
G. Ormsby               J. O'Malley                     T. Tunney

T. Landers*             C. Brosnan                     J.J. Landers
P. Kelly                   P. Quinn                          J. Gannon
                                 T Burke

The Western followers were in high glee when the teams lined out for the fateful second half. Their champions had given a good account of themselves but confidence in the Kingdom camp had not yet abated.

On the resumption it was evident the fighting spirit of the Kingdom was roused. They swept through from the throw in and Gannon cleared to touch to stop the rush. Russell got the touch throw. He drove in front of the sticks. Tim Landers, who was the outstanding player on the field, got possession and crashed into the net the equaliser score after a few seconds play. Doyle sent back the kick-out. The leather reached the square and Brosnan punched the ball into the net. After a consultation between the referee and the umpires the score was disallowed and Mayo were awarded a 21 yards free.

Even at half-time, when Mayo were leading by three points, there was no feeling of security or confidence in this lead. One felt that Kerry could give us something better-and they did-and Mayo "flopped".
– "J. N. S." in the "Irish Press"

Stack returned the kick, but the leather went wide. Kerry kept to the attack and a long free from Barrett sailed wide of the objective. The Kerry backs moved out to press home the attack. Connor sent in a long kick which reached Doyle. He was fouled and Ryan centred the free. Doyle got the ball but his effort to score was blocked over the line for a 50. Barrett's kick was saved by Kelly and soon after Gannon effected a fine clearance, Kerry were not to be denied and in exciting play they were awarded a free. The ball reached Tim Landers who put  the Kingdom one point ahead after six minutes play.

Johnny Walsh secured the kickout. His effort reached Brosnan and the Mayo backs, hotly pressed, gave a 50. This was beaten off in vigorous play in front of the Mayo posts. Gainey was knocked out. He was replaced by Bill Landers. On the resumption Kerry stormed to the attack. J. J. Landers dribbled along the wing and centred. Brosnan secured and his shot hit the cross-bar, the leather going over for a point. Whitty drove back the kick out and Brosnan was left in possession. He hand-passed to Tim Landers who was pulled down on the 21. From the free Ryan put Kerry three points in front (2-4 to 1-4). The Landers brothers combined in another Kerry attack and Burke was lucky to clear a hot shot for a 50. Gannon saved in the goal-mouth and cleared to touch. Tim Landers got possession from the throw in and was again fouled. Ryan added a minor from the close range free.

Mayo tried to break away, but Russell held them up. Tim Landers was dribbling in when O'Malley effected a timely clearance. A free at midfield to Mayo was sent back by Jack Walsh and a dazzling movement by J. J. Landers, Doyle and Stack left Brosnan in possession. His shot to the net was saved by Burke and Doyle from close range missed.

Kerry were definitely on top. They returned the kick-out and Brosnan passed to Doyle. Doyle's kick for goal went over off Kelly's hands for a point giving Kerry a five point lead after 16 minutes play. Kerry were playing confidently and from a centre by Walsh the ball just sailed wide. G. Ormsby who was playing well for his side, stopped a Kerry movement, but the champions came in again. Bill Landers placed in front of the posts but Quinn punched away, and Mayo, moving out, were held up by Sullivan.

It was patent to every man, woman and child that Kerry were masters.
– "J. N. S." in the "Irish Press"

A free to Mayo changed the scene of action. Mulderrig's free went to Moclair, but he missed. Kerry swept outfield with the kick and Stack's centre reached Brosnan. He hit the crossbar and Bill Landers sent wide at point blank range.

A long kick by Russell put Kerry on the attack. They were awarded a 50. The Kerry forwards tried for goal from Barrett's centre and there was a tussle in front of the Mayo posts. Brosnan sent inches wide of the upright.

Play swung around and a free to Mayo gave them a footing. Sullivan and Walsh cleared in turn before Mayo came with another rush, Barrett punched over for a 50 to save the net. Connor drew on a rolling ball, the leather going beyond centre-field and Tim Landers worked away. He gave to Doyle who was wide from long range.

In a loose rush by Mayo the Kerry backs were out of position and Forde crashed through for a goal, reducing Kerry's lead to two points with four minutes to go.

Urged on by the cheers of their supporters, Mayo looked dangerous again, but Sullivan effected a timely save. Two frees in succession came to Mayo and there was tense excitement as Courell took the second about 30 yards out. He missed badly. Mayo attacked again but Walsh cleared and Russell further relieved. A long kick by Johnny Walsh put Kerry on the attack. A free at an angle was secured by Stack but he sent wide. J. J. Landers put Kerry once more on the attack. Tim Landers was fouled in front of the sticks and Ryan added a minor from the free, putting Kerry three points in front with a few minutes to go.

The referee whistled for a foul and the crowd, thinking the game was over, burst in on the ground. The pitch was soon cleared. Mayo went away from the hop and Walsh beat Courell at the critical moment. Kerry went on the attack when the final whistle sounded with Kerry worthy victors on the scores:-

Final Score
Kerry – 2 goals, 7 points
Mayo – 2 goals, 4 points

Mr Martin O'Neill, Wexford, refereed. 

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