Rebel Michael Milner aims to bring glory to the Kerry hurling

While it is the home of Sam Maguire, Dunmanway has produced some notable hurlers over the years.

Jim Young of Glen Rovers won five All-Ireland medals with Cork in the 1940s and in recent years Darren Sweetnam appeared on the Cork panel before opting to focus on rugby.

However, the most recent exponent is donning green and gold rather than red.

Last weekend, Michael Milner made his Kerry debut in their Munster SHL loss to Limerick and this Sunday he could be facing his native county when they clash in Fitzgerald Stadium.

A garda stationed in Killarney, Milner decided to transfer to Dr Crokes two years ago. “I’m down here six years,” he says, “and for four of those I was driving back and forth to West Cork, playing senior football and junior hurling with the Dohenys.

“Three years ago, I took the decision to buy a house down here. I got engaged and we were expecting; it was getting harder and harder to keep doing what I had been. You were talking about four hours in a car to go home for training.”

More regarded as a footballer — he played minor and U21 for Cork — former All-Ireland bagpiper Milner had been approached to play junior for Kerry in 2014 but was unable to do so as he had played for Dohenys in the Cork senior championship in 2013.

“I had been playing soccer with Killarney Athletic and a lot of the Crokes lads were with them, so it made the move a lot easier,” he says.

“When I joined first, people were saying that I’d only get a league game here and there so I wanted to prove a point. I trained exceptionally hard and I ended up playing every championship game in 2014 and ’15. It was nice to break into the team.

“Like every other West Cork team, you’d play the hurling when you were on a break from the football.

“It’s the same here with Crokes, I got a call one day asking if I played hurling. In 2014, they got to the intermediate final but I was injured and I only played a few minutes in the final.

“Last year, we got to the final again and I suppose I got a bit of notice. Kilmoyley’s second team beat us but we went forward as Kerry’s representative in the Munster junior championship.

“Dromcollogher-Broadford gave us a fair walloping but Ciarán Carey was at the match and the following week I got a call asking me if I was interested in coming into the setup.”

Having made his debut at midfield against Limerick, he’s hoping to pit himself against one of his relatives this time round. “I’d love to be able to have a cut off my first cousin, Daniel Kearney!” he laughs. “I’ve been following him and supporting him all the time he has been with Cork, so it’ll be strange if that does happen now the next day.”


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