Kerry Footballers

A Legion of goalkeeping greats

August 10th, 2009
by Weeshie Fogarty

You read here last week that the Terrace Talk Special will be broadcast from the Killarney Legion complex next Monday, August 17 from 6-8pm. And this now is an open invitation to one and all to come along and meet the legends. The President of the Association Christy Cooney has very kindly accepted an invitation to be a special guest on the programme as the club recognises 125 years of the GAA and it is celebrating 80 years in existence as it was founded 1929.

One of the Legion's most famous sons Johnny Culloty played in goal in eight All Ireland finals, winning four medals between the posts. Next Monday's programme will have a huge goalkeeping theme as for the first time ever every Kerry goalkepper who has won an All-Ireland senior medal since 1953 will come together. Johnny Foley and Garry O'Mahoney will be there from the 1950s to recall their memories and joining them will be Paudie O'Mahoney, Charlie Nelligan, Declan O'Keeffe – who is making the journey from his adopted home in Clare – and the present star Diarmuid Murphy has accepted the invitation saying he is greatly looking forward to meeting up with the men of the past. Peter O'Leary, Legion's other winning goalkeeper, will also attend.

Club photographer Tommy Regan has been assembling for permanent exhibition a magnificent array of over 300 photographs, and Christy Cooney will declare Tommy's five-year labour of love officially opened. Another function for the President will be to sign the last pigskin football used in an All-Ireland final – 1969 – and then put it on permanent display in the club house. Three Legion men were involved in that 1969 victory, Kerry's 21st. Johnny Culloty was captain and goalkeeper, the late Jackie Lyne was the team trainer, while I was substitute goalkeeper that day. The ball is already signed by all of that winning team.

World renowned musician Liam O'Connor will be another huge attraction and we are delighted to have him as musical guest on the programme. And Kerry County Board Chairman Jerome Conway will also be a guest on the show.

In keeping with the goalkeeping theme, I have compiled some facinating statistics of what Kerry goalkeepers are all about. Niall Flynn from Firies played in goal for the Kerry minors some years ago. Now exiled in America he is finishing years of work on a new book of facts and figures on all of Kerry's championship footballers. He plans to publish it for Christmas. Ever footballer that kicked a ball for the Kingdom in the championship will be included. It promises to be one of the most fascinating publications ever in relation to Kerry football and will be in huge demand to answer all those questions in relation to the county's history and I am sure it will be a must have item in every GAA home.

Niall read about this upcoming tribute programme to Kerry's goalkeepers here in The Kerryman and mailed me the stats of all Kerry's goalies with permission to reveal them here. So, for the very first time here are just a few facts and figures of our greatest custodians. And my sincere thanks to Tim Slattery, from Austin Stacks, for his deep interest and research for the programme as he will also reveal on the show the number of National League games all my guests have played. The club is doing great organisational work in preparation for the event led by chairman Sean O'Sullivan and secretary Geraldine Keane and everyone is invited to come along. So bring the camera, get that jersey signed and meet the stars and the GAA President.

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