During the year Des Cahill asked Tomás Ó Sé just what made Kerry so good at accurate foot-passing,generally seen as key in defeating massed defences.
The man from An Gaeltacht produced one of the best responses of the year, delivered in a tone of mournfulexasperation: “It’s called football, Des.”
Last Sunday’s game was a littleovershadowed by the news that Dublin’s Jonny Cooper had beenattacked by a man with a knife.Thankfully Cooper didn’t suffer serious injuries in the attack.
Mayo manager James Horan(pictured) tookexception to some Cork comments in the lead-in to the two sides’ championship clash and didn’t shake hands with Rebel manager Brian Cuthbert after Mayo’s victory in Croke Park.
Those comments which irked Horan so much? They came from Cork selector Ronan McCarthy, when he said: “The likes of Cillian O’Connor and Kevin McLoughlin are good scorers but they’re also key in terms of the little fouls they can commit in a game that go unnoticed but which stop a team’s momentum.”
O’Connor duly picked up a straight red in the next round of the championship against Kerry.
Tipperary put Cork to the pin of their collar in Páirc Uí Chaoimh and went on to impress in the rest of the championship. Improving steadily under Peter Creedon’s stewardship and ran up some impressive scores this summer, including 4-12 in a qualifier defeat at the hands of Galway.
Ryan McHugh’s first goal for Donegal against Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final served notice that the Sky Blues were mortal after all and notvisiting from nearby Valhalla (although for sheer quality and entertainment Diarmuid Connolly’s recent effortfor St Vincent’s in the Dublin football championship is hard to beat).
Martin McHugh said Colm Cooper was a one-trick pony when comparing the injured Kerryman to his county colleague, James O’Donoghue. Cue a completely appropriate maintenance of perspective from everyone in the Kingdom.
Joe Brolly. Where do you start? Whether he’s describing Sunday’s game as the worst All-Ireland finalhe’s ever seen or calling the Cavan footballers ‘the Black Death’, he’snever knowingly understated. The hand gestures we leave to anotherday.
Mr Kieran Donaghy to a punditidentified in the self-same statement, September 21: “What do you think of that, Joe Brolly?”
Hey, all the smart alecks bemoaning the lack of competitiveness in the Munster football championship? How is that Leinster football championship working out for you?
Barry John Keane of Kerry didn’t endear himself to anyone when knocking the ball off the kicking tee late in the All-Ireland final. Lips pursedsimultaneously all over the country.
A vote of thanks to the man who went up the tree down in Kerry the week before the All-Ireland final. As a result of his selflessness we got a bit of entertainment out of the last few days. Mind you, if Coillte see that Kerryofficials are promising to cut that tree down...
This one goes to the pundit who shall remain nameless in spite of calling the Dublin footballers thegreatest team of all time on nationalradio. Why, they’re going to reign forever! This all happened just a couple of weeks before that game against Donegal.
The rosy glow in the east wheneverybody saw Donegal overrun Dublin and score goals for fun in the All-Ireland semi-final. This is fantastic, said everyone, the final itself is going to be a veritable festival of football.
The first 35 minutes of the All-Ireland football final produced a flood of coded descriptions everywhere. Gripping.Intriguing. Challenging. Fascinating.Intense. These are trigger words foreveryone to cover their eyes.
For once, this was an easy oneto pick. Time was running out for Kerry, with Mayo closing out a tense semi-final, before David Moran looped a high ball into the square. Kieran Donaghy not only fielded cleanly but placed James O’Donoghue (pictured) for the goal that launched Kerry towards the All-Ireland (still find it baffling that Mayo didn’t try something different on Donaghy in the replay? Us too).
Clearly, in retrospect, when Colm Cooper was ruled out for the year it was the time to lump your wages on Kerry to go the whole way. So of course you did that, right? I’ll have a large latte out of your winnings.
For all the free-running half-backs, Dublin missed Ger Brennan grievously in the summer; for all the systems and approaches, teams will always miss a centre-back who can hold the middle.
To the winner the spoils. At the start of the year Eamon Fitzmaurice was in a lonely place, to quote a ’50s movie title; he ended the season with not one but threetacticalmaster-classes in a row, two against Mayo and one against Donegal. Tasty.
He didn’t touch a ball in the championship apart from a few pre-game warm-ups, but Colm Cooper was the most influential player of the season. His injury and subsequent absence lowered expectations, puzzledopponents and forced other Kerryplayers to produce themselves rather than looking for him to work the oracle.
And finally, the most coveted bauble in the GAA.
James O’Donoghue of Kerry, witha floppy top-knot, was an earlycontender here, as was Aidan O’Shea with an inimitable fringe, but another Kingdom forward, Barry John Keane, sported a complicated arrangement which trumps all comers.