Crokes lose to Ballymun in the All Ireland Club Semifinal

February 19th, 2013
by Weeshie Fogarty

These are indeed trying times for those fervent followers of Kerry football as a series of defeats in recent weeks have left the proverbial cloud hanging over the county. Those two heavy defeats in the national league suffered by our senior team has received national attention, and Finuge beaten by the Tyrone men in the All Ireland Intermediate final followed soon after and now Dr Crokes have added to the tale of woe.  And so it was in Semple Stadium Thurles last Saturday where Dublin football proved they now have great strength in dept when Ballymun Kickhams were richly deserved winners over the lake side men in the All Ireland Club semi-final. While Noel o Leary will be bitterly disappointed at his side's elimination from the championship he will realize that his team was really playing second fiddle for much of this thrilling encounter. The winners looked much sharper, fresher, and quicker to the fifty, fifty ball, and especially in the first half they literally cleaned up around the middle of the field, winning most of the breaking ball an aspect of play which Crokes usually excel at.  And if Ballymun had taken their litany of chances in that first half they would have been well out of reach when the teams retired to the dressing rooms at the short whistle.

They kicked seven bad wides (of course there is no such thing as a good wide). And then minutes after their excellent corner forward Ted Furman had goaled in the 15th minute it took a brilliant, unbelieveable point blank save by Crokes goalkeeper David Moloney to keep his side in touch. This was as good a save as I have EVER seen on a gaelic football field. The better team definitely won. Crokes looked tired and jaded after the winter lay off and looking back in retrospect the danger signals were flashing for Crokes following their very fortunate win away to Kilmurry-Ibricane in the first round of the Munster championship. It was goalkeeper Moloney who saved their bacon that day. They had looked heavy footed and tired in Clare and last Saturday with a few exceptions the same thing happened. Indeed this theory of fatigue was bourn out for me when I saw their brilliant wing back Shane Myers being substituted in the 43rd minute. Here was a man who had been the star of many of the Croke wins during the last few years both in East Kerry and the senior county championship and his fitness, work ethic and support play signified all that was good in his side's displays. . Now he had found the pace and running of the Dublin men just too much. For me his substitution was the final straw.

However when all is said and done the Kickhams display was a treat to watch and with Philip McMahon, and especially the brilliant Alan Hubbard driving their men forward and splitting the Crokes defence with their incisive runs and pin point passing a first All Ireland final appearance was never in doubt. And yet despite all I have written we will never know what would have materialized if Chris Brady's 38th minute penalty had not been saved. Goalkeeper Sean Curry got well down to the softly struck effort to save with both hands and push the ball away to safety. It was the last throw of the dice and Ballymun finished out the hour as they had played all day, seven or eight men back in defence, man marking the Crokes forwards with great disclipine and amazingly conceding just one point from a free.  Dublin football appears to be in rude health at the moment. They have won three All Ireland under twenty titles in recent years, contested two minor finals, winning one and also taking the Sam Maguire Cup just two years ago and now their county champions have defeated the Kerry champions convincingly. Their minors beat Kerry in the semi final last year and their seniors also proved too good for us in both league and championship. One can draw whatever conclusions you wish from this, but one thing is certain, their development at all ages appears to be well ahead of Kerry. That is the bottom line and we can dress it up whatever way we wish but facts are facts.

Peggy Lyne RIP
A great link with past greatness of Kerry football was severed recently with the death of (Margaret), Peggy Lyne of Killarney. Peggy, a native of Knockadea Ballylanders, who died on January 27th, was the wife of the legendary Kerry and Killarney Legion footballer Jackie Lyne. Jackie had predeceased his wife on December 15th 1993. I had known both as they were regular attendee's at our club socials and gatherings down through the years. Following Jackie's death Peggy continued living until recently in their lovely home in the Muckross Road Killarney. She kept in close touch with all GAA happenings in Kerry and a few years ago a phone call from Peggy saw me calling to her home. "I have found something in the attic while doing a bit of clearing" she informed me "and I thought you might like to have it". With that she produced an o Neills old pig skin football with the words, All Ireland Final 1969 adorned on it.  It immediately brought a host of memories flooding back as I had been a member of that Kerry team panel of 1969. Kerry defeated Offally that year to win their 21st title and this was the ball that had been kicked over Martins Furlongs (Offally goalkeeper) bar ten times that memorable day. Mick o Connell (0-2), Din Joe Crowley (0-2), Brendan Lynch (0-1), Mick Gleeson (0-2), Mick o Dwyer (0-2) and Liam Higgins (0-1), had all guided the pigskin between the Croke Park uprights for a three point victory. Din Joe was the last man to hold the ball as the full time whistle sounded and amidst all the celebrations and as the crowd raced on to the field Jackie the team trainor, took possession of the ball and concealed it under his short coat, and here it was twenty five years later thanks to Peggy, in my possession. It is now with my club, autographed by all those winning players, and will shortly be on display in a special cabinet in our club house. To Peggy's daughters, Nuala, Dolores, Breeda, sons Michael and Sean and extended family we offer our deepest sympathy's. 

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