Kerry Footballers

Talking to Paul Galvin in the Dressing Room following the 2007 All Ireland Final

September 18th, 2007
by Weeshie Fogarty

He sat in the corner of the Kerry dressing room in Croke Park, seemingly oblivious to the sight of the gleaming silver Sam Maguire cup standing on the table before him. Reporters and photographers scurrying around anxious to secure the precious interview with members of the newly crowned All Ireland champions. Paul Galvin had seen all before. It appeared to me that for him it was just a case of another job done and dusted. The old enemy had been kept down for another year so move on and prepare for the next battle. The old order had been retained; he had achieved what his county required of him. He had seen all before. He was Paul Galvin the man who would literally give his life's blood for Kerry on the field of play. He typifies for me all that is great about this particular group of Kerry footballers. Total commitment; put your life on hold. Train, live and eat like a professional. Suffer the pains, strains and injuries, travel the length and breathe of the thirty two counties picking up points in the national league in the debts of winter. And lest we forget, payment is not included in any form. Get up the following day and report to school and impart your life's knowledge to your students. Paul galvin one of the secrets of Kerry.   

So what did it feel like now following that historic win over the old enemy? "It's a fantastic feeling, there was so much riding on this game for Kerry due to the fact that it was Cork in An All Ireland final. I felt that everything we had achieved and everything that Kerry football stood for was on the line to day. Was it really that serious? "Without a doubt, I felt that a hundred years or more of being the greatest county in Gaelic football and dominating Cork for so long that if they had beaten us to day we wouldn't have been allowed back into the county in my opinion. The stakes were that big for us, our reputations and our pride in Kerry football was riding on seventy minutes, that's how I looked on it". So was he surprised in the way that Cork went down so easily? "Well I would say that things just went against them, they had a few very unlucky breaks. Would you believe I didn't even see one of Donnaghys goals? I faced up my man, because they were breaking out of defense I turned to find my man, faced away from the play, next thing I heard a big roar and I looked around and the ball was in the back of the net".

The fact that Paul emphasized how he had turned around to face his man and take him up and forget about what was happening in any other section of the field gives a clear and definite picture just how focused and disciplined he was to the task in hand. No day dreaming, no slacking, total concentration with the job on hand. He again stressed the historic importance of the result." Apparently Donnaghy came from behind his man and took the ball away from him and that what it was about to day. Massive, massive work rate, because as I said Weeshie everything Kerry football stood for was riding on this game to day in my eyes". So how competitive and tough was the match in comparison to other clashes with Cork. "We went out to make it hard. We had every intention of making it hard and we had every intention of making it physical because we felt there is no team that will out muscle us. That was our intention to go out and get physical with these fellows. That type of play never bothers us, we actually enjoy it. If there's a physical battle to be played we play it and if there's football to be played we play it.

I believe our first half performance set the tone for the game. Lots of hits going in and lots of turn over's, breaking ball. The start of the game was the key, the first twenty minutes. Did we have the hunger, were we willing to chase a guy down and turn the ball over or get a block down? Eoin Brosnan chased Noel O'Leary down the line and blocked him down, took off him and came back down the field. That was the key to this game". Did the new backroom team make a big difference and how importance was a new voice in the dressing room? Maybe the change of management was the key to winning the back to back. No disrespect to anybody, Jack and the others did a fantastic job.

The back to back was so difficult to achieve and we tried it before and maybe it was the new approach. I am not saying it was a better approach or a worse approach, so maybe it was the new faces, new voices and having to find that edge to keep your position for a new manager. All of that was what probably swung it for us this year. The boys that came in really did not change things a lot, they put a lot of trust in the players and they in turn realized that the players were very experienced. The change of management worked well and was very important". I put it to Paul that Kerry being what it is that the big talking point would now be the three in a row, would they go for it? His answer was straight and direct, no hesitating here, no beating about the bush. "We just started talking about it in the dressing room next door. That's what Kerry football is all about and it might be time for a new dynasty in Kerry football. The greats are the greats but maybe we can create a new dynasty of our own and that's the aim". Beautifully put by the Finuge man in relation to past legends. "The greats are the greats".

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