The Kerry Way

Gaelic football has undergone many changes in recent times, facing up to the challenges of modernisation, the demands of dealing with the growing professionalisation of the game and introducing the radical alterations to the Championship format. The past decade has witnessed more and more counties competing at the highest level to ensure competitive Provincial and Championship formats right up to the September finale. But through it all, the men from the Kingdom have endured the many challenges to their throne as the masters of the game. With 34 All-Ireland titles in the bag and today’s semi-final victory over Dublin securing the 4th consecutive Final appearance, it would appear that Kerry remains a place apart.

  • Dan

    One thing that has intrigued me is how Kerry is so strong in Gaelic football, but so weak in Hurling. Meanwhile, neighboring Cork is the most successful hurling county (and strong in the football as well).

  • Patrique

    They always write of the Kingdom at their peril. Just today Liam Hayes in the “Sunday Tribune” was explaining that Kerry have not had a good side for twenty years. This is their 4th final on the trot.

    In the years “dominated” by Tyrone and Armagh those two won 3 Al;l Irelands between them. The so called week, “finally met their match” Kerry have won three during the same period, and this could be four. Every decade they write of the Kingdom, every decade they come back as strong.

    In the dual counties, the football and hurling areas are usually separate, as is East Cork is hurling and West Cork is football. Cork however have an advantage on Kerry in that they have a City as well, where they play both.

  • Dan

    Is it West Cork’s proximity to Kerry (football stronghold) and East Cork’s proximity to Tipperary (hurling) that is a factor in there being a divide in the county as far as dominant sports go?

  • Unfair deal

    Kerry is virtually guaranteed a semi final place every year and probably only have to win three competitive games ever year to take Sam. Compare that with the Ulster dogfight and you soon see the reason for those 34 titles.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    A fair point, UD, although through many decades up to the last two, Ulster might have been a dogfight but no matter who came out they were usually not up to the standard of Kerry apart from Down in the 60s and Cavan in the 40s (and Monaghan once in the 80s)

    As to the other point since the qualifiers came in it’s four competitive matches for Kerry if they win Munster, not three (the q-f against Monaghan was fairly meaningful).

    Dan, I’ve often heard it said that hurling is strong where the land is flat & of good quality & gaelic football is predominant in hilly and mountainous areas. The Glens of Antrim is an exception of course but this might be because of a shinty connection with Scotland.

  • gaelgannaire

    Dear All,

    There is no Cork football team.

    There is a West Cork Football team, and what the f**k is West Cork man only a Kerry man with shoes.

  • Pat Spillane

    Unfair Deal: ‘Compare that with the Ulster dogfight’
    What do you Nordies want – the All Ireland to be divvied up for you like the Stormont Executive.

    Hurling is played in north Kerry, which is relatively flat and fertile, being the ass-end of the Golden Vale. Not fertile enough to produce more than one hurling all-Ireland (1890s).

  • John

    Kerry have a massive advantage in belonging to a province in which only one other county takes football even half seriously. They don’t even have to raise a sweat to get to the semi-finals most years. If all Ulster counties bar Tyrone were to give up football and concentrate on hurling, then Tyrone would be in the semi-final every year and probably have a score of All-Irelands to their credit. As it is, Kerry’s record against Ulster teams is nothing brilliant. Outplayed by Armagh and Tyrone in recent years, this year has seen them scrape only a one-point victory over Monaghan, who weren’t even the provincial champions of Ulster. Its time the Ulster teams started pressing for a completely open draw from round one.

  • patrique

    I think hurling and football developed in certain areas and now it is tradition.

    As for the above, Tyrone would be in the quarters every year, which has been their downfall in recent years. Mind you, if I was managing Tyrone I would take a dive in the first round of the Ulsters, thus avoiding the dog fight, and take my chances against all the “weak” teams in the qualifiers.

    And I notice few contributers to this site are interested in GAA unless there is a sectarian angle.

  • Donnacha

    I think you’re right about the tradition thing, Patrique, but that can change. Wexford was once a footballing stronghold until the 1940s when hurling took over. Not that it’s done much good in the last few years…And yes it is refreshing to have a sport thread that doesn’t contain accusations of sectarianism.

  • sammaguire

    One thing that has intrigued me is how Kerry is so strong in Gaelic football, but so weak in Hurling. Meanwhile, neighboring Cork is the most successful hurling county (and strong in the football as well).

    Posted by Dan on Aug 27, 2007 @ 12:33 AM

    It kinda helps that Cork has 3.5 times the population of Kerry. I’m a Dub… wouldn’d fancy our chances against Kerry if they had 3.5 times our population! The other 31 counties should give Kerry credit where credit is due. Even if they had the ref on their side yesterday!!

  • sammaguire

    Unfair Deal: ‘Compare that with the Ulsdogfight’
    What do you Nordies want – the All Ireland to be divvied up for you like the Stormont Executive.

    Hurling is played in north Kerry, which is relatively flat and fertile, being the ass-end of the Golden Vale. Not fertile enough to produce more than one hurling all-Ireland (1890s).

    Posted by Pat Spillane on Aug 27, 2007 @ 01:18 PM

    Obviously not the real Pat Spillane or you’d have mentioned Kenmare tradition of hurling in beautiful South Kerry. Jackie Healy Rae was a good hurler in his time apparently. Think he hurled against Dick Spring once. Hope he gave him a rough time!

  • An Céilleachaireach Rúa

    “There is no Cork football team.

    There is a West Cork Football team, and what the f**k is West Cork man only a Kerry man with shoes.”

    James Masters, Derek Kavanagh, Pierse O’Neill, Michael Shileds, Alan Quirke, Ger Spillane and Daniel Goulding would all be a little confused at being called “West Cork” men. Typical Kirry wind-up merchantery.

    Aghada, one of the strongest traditional footbal clubs in the county is in EAST Cork and outside of Nemo, most of the City clubs are known for hurling
    Glen, Barrs, Piarsaighs, Rockies etc.

  • RG Cuan

    Comhghairdeas le Ciarraí but in truth they’ve again been very lucky to reach this year’s All Ireland Final.

    Muineachán were the better team the last day and if the ref was man enough to book Dara Ó Sé for his swinging right foot at the end of the game the Munster men would be out of the hunt by now.

    Against Baile Átha Cliath the ref was also at hand to take play back even though Ryan was through for a goal – very dubious decision.

    For years Ciarraí have been lauded as the best team in the land and, while they do deserve much praise, their reputation has also helped them in times of need.

    Ádh mór ar an dá fhoireann Mhuimhneach sa chluiche ceannais ach tá an tUltach seo ag dúil go mór go ndéanfaidh na Ceannaircigh an gnó!

  • Droch_Bhuachaill

    Ard Fhear RG,

    Is é sin an chéad uair ag an gCiarraíoch seo ‘Na Ceannaircigh’ a chloistint mar ainm ar Chorcaigh!

  • Kerry football is a phenomonon. Some of my friends think they were lucky to beat The Dubs, but personally, I always felt that The Kingdom had the edge. Their response after half-time was magnificent.

    Many people think it will be a poor final but I would disagree. It will be closer than expected but i would still expect Kerry to prevail.

  • Juan Kerr

    I can never get over the begrudgery of some people who regard themselves as GAA fans who try to portray Kerry as somehow ‘lucky’ to have accumulated 34 All-Ireland titles. It is scandalously small-minded and spiteful to make such a claim, and utter nonsense to boot.

    Can somebody please explain how it is that Kerry are in their 4th All-Ireland final in 5 years and their 7th in eleven years, if it’s just all down to luck. And while they’re at it, could they also explain how Cork have made it to their 2nd All-Ireland in 9 years (having also contested 5 semi-finals in that time), if it’s so easy to get out of Munster and beat teams from all over the rest of the country along the way.

    I think people who make these sort of claims are not mererly begrudgers but obviously lack any kind of knowledge of the kind of sheer dedication and effort these men put in to a pursuit of excellence.

    It’s quite disappointing really, especially when Kerry have a strict policy of not moaning and complaining whenever we are beaten or no matter who we are beaten by. We experienced 3 very painful defeats against Armagh and Tyrone in recent years, people wrote us off as a bunch of showboating Fancy Dans who’d been found out and that was the proof that we could only win ‘soft’ All-irelands and the Northerners who too tough for us, etc etc. However every Kerry player and manager who was asked about it said we were simply beaten by the better team on the day.

    Then we come back and win more titles and people try to deride the achievement, as if winning an All-Ireland is such an easy thing to accomplish in the first place. I can assure you it isn’t.

    People should also bear in mind the fact that if it wasn’t for the achievements of Kerry football teams down through the years, Cork would probably be lording over the entire rest of the country right now with about 20 Football Titles to go alongside their 32 in Hurling. We’d never, ever hear the end of it.

    Can you imagine anything worse?

  • flaming lip

    “It’s quite disappointing really, especially when Kerry have a strict policy of not moaning and complaining whenever we are beaten or no matter who we are beaten by.”

    Aye right, the amount of moaning after 2003 was ridiculous i.e. Pat Spillane, Sean Walsh asking for the rules to be changed, even Jack O’Connor’s autobiography continued the theme of complaining abuot the northerners. As a member of a couple of GAA message boards, it’s also reflected in the thoughts of some grass roots Kerry fans as well who have gone though seemingly every single thing that Tyrone players possibly did wrong in those games in 2003/2005.

    In saying that, I don’t mind the actual Kerry team but I think it’s a bit misleading to say that no complaining was done about the games against the nordies.

  • Juan Kerr

    Fair enough there may have been SOME moaning from a few disgruntled punters in 2003 but as I say the team took it on the chin and after a few days it was all forgotten about. Anybody who wanted to complain further was told by all the commentariat to shut up, sure hadn’t we enough All-Irelands, Tyrone were hungry for their first one, that this was the modern game and that we’d have to adapt and evolve, to this ‘Formula One’ football (so named by Pat Spillane, Sunday Game Sept 2005 when introducing the victorious Tyrone team).

    That was taken on board and we have made it to the last 2 All-Irelands since 2005. Yet some people still accuse Kerry of winning ‘soft’ and ‘handy’ All-Irelands. It’s a nonsense, and everyone knows it.

    It’s kind of strange also how the same accusation never gets levelled at the Kilkenny hurlers, even though they stroll, yawning, out of Leinster every year and haven’t played a competitive game (outside of their own training sessions) so far this summer.

  • Manolo

    Liam Hayes who played on Sean Boylan’s (East)meath team and accussed the Austarlain International Rules team of being corner boys and addicted to thuggery?

    Hayes is an expert.

  • “There is a West Cork Football team, and what the f**k is West Cork man only a Kerry man with shoes.”

    Love that…