National League

Comprehensive defeat of Armagh in the League

March 22nd, 2011
by Weeshie Fogarty

Following the defeat by Dublin three weeks ago in the league I remarked  in this column that in my opinion Kerry were the classier more skilful side in relation to passing, kicking and in particular being comfortable on the ball during the course of that game. Now I might be in a minority of one here but watching last Sunday's game on the box I was once again struck by the sheer football ability each and every Kerry player displayed in what was really a comprehensive defeat of Armagh. Of course the home side had their periods of dominance in particular the second quarter of the first half and during this period Kevin Toner the mid fielder was left unmarked and in for a goal which Mac an tSaoir had little chance of saving.  However from the throw in and right up until the 9th min Kerry simply owned the ball and their passing, support play, ability to win possession backed up by flowing moves out of defense sends out for me the message that this team is beginning to develop nicely and the long journey back to the Kingdom will have been one of satisfaction and contentment of Jack o Connor and his fellow selectors.

Of course its early days yet but the plusses far outweigh the minuses. Shane Enright and Brian Maguire came through a very testing outing with flying colors in what are always a hostile northern atmosphere and the Tarbert man is beginning to look more and more like a man who could tie down his position for a long time. The introduction of David Moran made a huge difference and I reckoned Kerry won the midfield possession battle in both halves. The Kerins o Rahillys man was outstanding, his high fielding, work rate and those two massive frees he pointed signaled one thing if that was necessary; this lad has great temperament, a vital ingredient in championship football, (where would it go from him as they say). Anthony Maher also is coming good and very good at that and all the Duagh man needs to add to his game is consistency. All the great Kerry midfielder performed to very high standards match after match, day after day. Kerry supporters are unforgiving and always look for the highest standards. The selectors are using the bench to great effect and the three mid fielders are getting ample playing time to show what they are worth. Seamus Scanlon will definitely get fitter and fitter and maybe David Moran is better being introduced than starting the games? This will be well sorted out as the league concludes.

I mentioned earlier I believe Kerry skill as displayed by this team is as good if not better that most others and their second half goal which clinched the two valuable points bear this out. It was a wonderful movement finished of with the perfect shot. Donnacha Walsh as always in the thick of the action found Kieran Donaghy with a long ball; he quickly passed to Declan o Sullivan who in turn found Darren o Sullivan and following a scintillating solo run the former Kerry captained finished off this brilliant move as with an angled shot he rattled the Armagh net.  It was all about movement, support play and fast accurate passing which this team continues to develop as the league grinds on. Kieran o Leary kicked three lovely points which set Kerry on their winning way but there is a little niggling doubt that the Croke man tires as the game enters the final twenty minutes.

Donaghy was outstanding and the long angled ball suited him much better than the straight high direct centre which was used in the Dublin game. Darren and Kieran o Leary should have added two goals which signify that they were working well off Star. Great to see Paul Galvin and Declan o Sullivan being brought on and their vast experience helped greatly as the team ran down the clock to guarantee those two precious points. It early days yet however great strides have being made and I continue to wonder at the unbelievable desire and will to win from everyone involved.

And to another Kerry football story .As we continue to be bombarded morning, noon and night with political debates on press, radio and TV we might as well as the fellow said follow the old adage "if you can't beat them join them". And that is exactly what I intend to do in a few short paragraphs in relation to some Kerry sporting football greats and their political ambitions.  Many people will be unaware the Mick O Connell one of the greatest footballers of all time contested the 1981 general election  as an Independent candidate in Kerry South after turning down approaches from Fine Gael and Fianna fail. He failed to win a seat. Mick had been elected to Kerry County Council as an Independent councilor in June 1979.

Joe Keohane played for Kerry from 1936 to 1949 generally recognized as one of the greatest full backs of all time. Joe, who was a staunch republican, stood for Kevin Boland's short lived party Aontach Eireann in the Kerry North constituency in the 1973 general election. His 695 votes, 2.5 % of the vote were not enough to elect him.

Johnny Walsh from Ballylongford won five All Irelands with Kerry. He claimed he was dropped from the Kerry team 'because of my politics" in 1933 and he vowed never to play Gaelic football again. He played rugby for Garryowen in Limerick and was also capped for Munster. Johnny unsuccessfully stood for Clann Na Poblachta in the Kerry North constituency at the 1948 general election.

Tom "Gegga" O Connor of Dingle fame who captained Kerry to their 1939 Al Ireland win was unsuccessful in two attempts to get elected to the Dail for Fianna Fail in the Kerry North constituency in 1948 and 1951.

Moyvane's Con Brosnan is regarded to have been the greatest midfielder of his day. He became a captain in the Free State Army after the Civil War. Despite polling over 5000 votes his attempt to win a Dail seat in Kerry for Cumann Na nGaedheal at the 1933 general election was unsuccessful.

There were others of course who were successful and reached "the promised land" (or should that be the promised house). Austin Stack, Jimmy Dennihan now a minister and we offer our congratulations to the Finuge man, Martin Ferris, Dan Spring and his son Dick are some who readily come to mind. And finally let's not forget Sean Kelly M.E.P. his deep involvement in Gaelic games affairs was certainly the spring board for his political achievements. And who knows if the Kilcummin man decides to throe his hat into the Presidential ring we might have a GAA man up in Aras an Uachtarain.

Radio Kerry - The Voice of the Kingdom