In the previous decade, both times I was collared for penalty points happened on the way to meeting the Ó Sés.
One was for using my phone, stuck in traffic on the Grand Canal heading to the launch of Páidí’s tournament. The other for speeding outside Castleisland as I was running late for an interview with Marc in Tralee before the 2009 All-Ireland final. As it turned out, Marc was later.
What he said that day was worth the discomfort. Marc spoke of how difficult football had been living in the shadows of his brothers Darragh and Tomás. Always being measured, always being compared, always being contrasted. In ways, it was worse than having a father for a former player. Consider also the considerable shade cast on the trio by their uncle’s great career and while they mightn’t have licked it off a stone they certainly had to carry it. Yeah, Marc had it tough.
In recent years, though, he has seen the funnier side of things. When he claimed a fifth All-Ireland medal in 2014, he couldn’t contain his delight at equalling Tomás’s record. “Do you know what, no harm for that fella!” he says of Tomás. “He was the type of fella he’d only have it over you and he’d be pulling the piss out of you and I’m delighted I caught up with him anyway. Darragh is the type of fella he wouldn’t say anything to you – he’d be happy out.”
Whether or not Marc equals Tomás’ all-time championship record against Dublin on Sunday, he has achieved feats his brothers could only wish to emulate.
When a hamstring injury ruled Marc out of the 2012 Munster opener against Tipperary, it ended a remarkable eight-year run of consecutive starts for Kerry. From the 2004 Munster final to the 2011 All-Ireland final, he featured in Kerry’s starting SFC team on 50 straight occasions.
Being dropped for the All-Ireland semi-final replay against Mayo in 2014 smarted and it was evident in his superb performance coming on for Shane Enright. It obviously still gnawed at him last year when at the ripe old age of 35 he was an ever-present up to the Tyrone game after which injury denied him a 10th All-Ireland final.
This summer, he just has two substitute appearances against Clare to his name but sheer belligerence these past four weeks may have been enough to convince Éamonn Fitzmaurice he can be called on for the get-go once more.
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