Kerry Hurling and the Death of Former Kerry Full Back, Paud O'Donoghue

July 29th, 2008
by Weeshie Fogarty

It was a bitterly disappointing end to Kerrys hurling year when they were bundled out of the Christy Ring Cup at home to Carlow recently. It finished 2-4 to 1-14. And what made the defeat harder to swallow was the fact that only the previous week Pat Heffernan's men had chalked up a massive 7-11 against table toppers Meath. Due to other commitments I seldom get the opportunity to see our hurling men in action and following the Carlow game the anguish of the defeat was very evident on the faces of all those wonderfully dedicated hurling men and women. The atmosphere at the big championship hurling matches in this county is something very special, and for my money far out weights the crowd participation at the football games. Carlow were well deserved winners and the Kerry chances of advancing to the semi final were greatly diminished when injury prevented John Mike Dooley, Shane Brick and John Egan from lining out. These three men are irreplaceable and the attack never moved with the fluency necessary to win the day. Carlow with former Waterford All Star Jim Green in charge played some lovely hurling and their full back line of Andrew Gaule, Des Shaw and John Rodgers held the Kerry attack well in check. Wing fordward Ruairi Dunbar and Colin Hughes were also to the fore in the visitors attack.

So its back to the proverbial drawing board for Kerry hurling and the general consensus of opinion among fans I discussed the game with was that manager Pat Heffernan has to be prevailed on to remain at the helm. He will have learned a great deal about his players and the difficulties facing Kerry hurling in his first year in charge. And indeed it's a well known fact that no matter what team a man takes on necessitates at least three years before he can begin to see his own personal stamp appearing on the squad. When Kerry football trainer Pat Flanagan took over some years ago he predicted it would take three years before he would have his men in the physical shape necessary to challenge for honors. It turned out that he was a year ahead of schedule. There are many very knowledgeable and passionate hurling men in this county who know the game inside out and they will continue to strive for that big break through necessary to win the Christy Ring Cup. The continuity of Pat Heffernan's managerial expertise is vital and should be the first step on that road. There is great work going on all over the county at juvenile and under age level however in my opinion the heavy defeats our minor hurling sides are subject to in Munster in latter years must be so disheartening for the emerging young hurling stars of the Kingdom. And also of course for the men in charge of those teams.  This problem irrespective of financial gains should not be left continue and our under age hurlers should for the foreseeable future play in competitions which suits their standards best.

However at the end of the day the future success of Kerry hurling depends entirely on the players. Just imagine if every single Kerry hurler chosen on the county panel trained to the very same extent as say Dara o Se. Complete dedication week after week, month after month and year after year. Let nothing come in the way of the county side.  Then I am utterly convinced a Kerry hurling team would be well capable of matching any side in their chosen group on any given Sunday of the year.  I had a chat with Carlow manager Jim green after the game and like all hurling men he is passionate, vocal, and exuberant and simply loves talking about his sport. His adopted county touches on Kilkenny, Wexford and Laois so hurling is Carlow must derive inspiration from this. So how important is the Christy Ring Cup to them. "It's life and death to these fellows and I want this as bad as them. It's all about passion and we are all feeding of each other. We have only seven senior clubs in Carlow but there is unbelievable work going on at under age level". He travels to training every night o journey of one hundred miles return and then I put it to him that he must have had huge ambitions to training his own county, Waterford. He pulled no punches with his reply. "Since the day I stopped playing and went into management it has been a life's ambition of mine but I was never given a break at it, maybe the powers think they know better than me, I would love to have a go at it. However I am happy here with Carlow and enjoying every second of my time here." Jim won an All Star in 1982 and had a tremendous run with his club Mount Sion. He won eight senior county championships and then went on to train them to win six seniors and managed the Waterford minors to an All Ireland final in 1992 where defeat was their lot against Galway. Hurling people are different in a wonderful way. With so many out side managers now behind numerous championship teams here in Kerry and men like Pat Heffernan willing to lend their expertise success must come. However it remains for the players to throw their lot behind the drive and with a highly disciplined approach and 100% commitment to the cause the tide will definitely turn. Would a separate hurling board in thei county proposed some years ago improve the situation? A debate here for another day perhaps. 


We were deeply saddened to hear of the death of former Kerry great Paud o Donoghue last Tuesday week July 22nd. I had the privilege of playing with Paud on Kerrys first under 21 Munster winning side in 1962 and later he fronted me as full back in league and tournament games with Kerry. A very quiet and unassuming man he rarely if ever rose his voice in anger but put him in a Kerry jersey and he literally gave his all. Paud o Donoghue was a great Kerry footballer. He did it all, winning All Ireland minor, under 21 and senior medals as well as National Leagues. Born in Asdee he starred for Ballylongford, played with Munster and helped Bally to All Ireland seven-a-side titles and played in six county finals being on the winning side on three occasions. A veteran of six All Irelands Final appearances Paudie loved the sports of greyhounds. A teacher by profession his late brother Eamon was also a class footballer with the Kingdom. Paudie was laid to rest last Thursday in Lislaughtin Abbey. Kerry GAA president Gerald McKenna gave a truly fitting grave-side oration and to Paud's wife Phyllis, son Hugh, daughter Nula, sister and immediate family we extend our deepest sympathy.


My probable Kerry first fifteen for next week's championship play off. Diarmuid Murphy, Marc o Se, Tom o Sullivan, Padraig Reidy, Thomas o Se, (Cap). Aidan o Mahoney, Killian Young, Dara o Se, Seamus Scanlon, Darren o Sullivan, Donncha Walsh, Brian Sheehan, Colm Cooper, Kieran Donnaghy, Tommy Walsh. 

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