TWICE previously, five in-a-row proved elusive in the All-Ireland football championship; for Wexford in the 1918 decider and Kerry in the 1933 semi-final.
And so it was in this memorable contest, except that it was within Kerry’s grasp until Seamus Darby’s sensational late goal.
The counties were meeting for the second successive year in the final and then-Offaly manager Eugene McGee recalled in his book ‘Classic Football Matches’ that the more the media honed in on Kerry, ‘the better it suited’ them. And, to deflect attention even further, he moved training from Tullamore to a small club pitch five miles away!
While Darby’s goal keeps cropping up, crucial to Offaly’s success was goalkeeper Martin Furlong’s penalty save from Michael Sheehy early in the second half. Offaly led 0-10 to 0-9 at half-time. Scores were level several more times before Kerry gradually got on top and enjoyed a four-point lead entering the last five minutes. Two scores from Matt Connor gave Offaly hope, but the title was slipping away until Darby put the ball in the net to end Kerry’s hopes.
Scorers for Offaly: M. Connor (0-7, 6f); Seamus Darby (1-0); B. Lowry (0-3); J. Mooney (0-2); L. Currams, P. Fitzgerald and S. Lowry (0-1 each). Scorers for Kerry: J. Egan (0-3); T. Spillane (0-3); M. Sheehy (3f); P. Ó Se, E. Liston and S. Walsh (0-2 each); J. O’Shea and P. Spillane (0-1 each).
OFFALY: M. Furlong; M. Lowry, L. Connor, M. Fitzgerald; P. Fitzgerald, S. Lowry, L. Currams; T. Connor, P. Dunne; J. Guinan, R. Connor (c), G. Carroll; J. Mooney, M. Connor, B. Lowry.
Subs: Stephen Darby for M. Lowry (23); Seamus Darby for Guinan (62).
KERRY: C. Nelligan; G. O’Keeffe, J. O’Keeffe, P. Lynch; P. Ó Sé, T. Kennelly, T. Doyle; J. O’Shea, S. Walsh; G. Power, T. Spillane, O. Moran; M. Sheehy, E. Liston, J. Egan (c).
Subs: P. Spillane for Moran (ht).
Referee: P.J. McGrath (Mayo).
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