I remember the words of Enda Gormley on the final whistle of All-Ireland 2003. “You have to hand it over to those horrible bitches of Tyrone!”
yrone arrived on the pitch relaxed and chatty for the game, which reminded me of their arrival at Croke Park that day in 2003 against favorites and defending champions Armagh.
“Look at them,” my brother Proinnsias sent me on the occasion, “look how relaxed they are. Armagh is in deep shit.
Two decades later, Kerry was soon in trouble. Tyrone was calm and tough, Kerry panicked and rushed over. For the first 60 minutes it was an entertaining contest between Tyrone and David Clifford. But when Clifford was injured after a pass to Seán O’Shea’s hospital, Kerry was done.
Trying to win an All-Ireland with a one-man squad is a precarious business. Kerry, looking like an over-impatient under-20 side slightly out of his depth compared to the real thing, found himself solo in dead ends and hand-handed the ball several times. If it hadn’t been for Clifford, Tyrone would have crushed them.
As it stands, the young Gaelic football king was insignificant, scoring eight points and single-handedly creating the illusion that Kerry is a serious team. But as soon as he got hurt (inevitably by Kerry’s umpteenth horrific pass), that was it.
Previously, when Kieran Donaghy was asked his prediction, he smiled and said, “I’d be worried if it was wet and slippery.”
It was a reminder that Kerry had not yet let go of her complacency with Tyrone. Here, they quickly discovered that the Ulster teams are not Clare, and certainly not a Tyrone team backed by the Dooher Steel.
My former Derry teammate Fergal McCusker, a surefire predictor of games, told me a fortnight ago that Mayo would beat Dublin.
On Wednesday he texted “Tyrone win. Kerry a one-man team. They have two feet in the final and have the false comfort of beating Tyrone by 16 points in the league. Tyrone has a lot of buckos on his team who don’t give a damn. They will come out swaying and Kerry will eventually fall under the pressure.
Paddy Power, who had Kerry at 1/7, should hire him. It is not expensive. Sponsoring the annual Watty Grahams GAC golf tournament will be enough to convince him.
The first half ended with the Ulster champions one point clear, with the halftime score pointing to Tyrone 1-7, David Clifford 0-9, but there was an air of desperation around of Kerry and the mood of the match was strongly with Tyrone.
(RTE halftime competition: Q. Which Pat has eight senior All-Ireland football medals? Is it a) Pat Spillane, b) Postman Pat, c) St Pat’s Athletic, or d) Pat Swayze? Text entries cost a minimum of € 4 depending on the network provider. Price: € 50 voucher for Pat’s Schoolwear, Main Street, Ardfert (only redeemable in store). No northerners or Taliban.
Even though they possessed Tyrone’s kick-outs throughout, Kerry continued to play amateur football in the second half, remaining totally dependent on Clifford for the game’s scores. Seán O’Shea – as always – took his steps beautifully. free free, but it is not at the highest level of Gaelic football strikers.
He’s more of a set-ball artist and, given the time, can hit points in the game beautifully. However, he’s not a top scorer on the line, nor does he have the best scorer on the line. rhythm or the know-how to open a defense like Tyrone’s.
Here he got a game point. It happened after Clifford sent him on goal with a miraculous hand pass over his shoulder as he fell to the ground in the opposite direction.
Presented with the scoring chance, O’Shea panicked and almost pushed the ball over the bar. Like his four other colleagues before, he was nervous and anonymous, Tyrone calmly pushing them aside.
When the scoring chances came for Kerry, they were dismissed because of this panic. First, with the goal at their mercy in the 21st minute and Niall Morgan blocked, Paul Geaney quickly passed the ball in his hand at the feet of Stephen O’Brien. O’Brien, meanwhile, had, for some reason, been well posted inside the square, so when he held him out towards the empty net he was immediately banned.
The missed second chance at a goal was the ultimate disaster, O’Shea crippling Clifford in the 66th minute with a telegraphed hand pass as a dummy and a break would have left Clifford with an easy helping hand.
Tyrone’s psychological hold on Kerry (with the exception of Clifford) was evident throughout. This manifested itself in the way Kerry played solo until they over-carry, hand the ball and rush their shots.
A flavor: Cillian Spillane over-worn (40). Seán O’Shea passed the ball in his hand (41). Killian Spillane was easily blocked when he landed a panicked shot on goal (42). Mike Breen played solo until he tripped and fell, resulting in a free Tyrone (47). Stephen O’Brien over-worn – free exit (52). Jack Barry hands over to Con Kilpatrick (57). Paul Murphy kicked the ball over the sideline after falling mid-solo (61) and so on.
Tyrone had them by the balls. Cathal McShane and the Son of God came and made excellent contributions.
Both will be fit for the final. This Tyrone team is a tight-knit and happy group. They love Dooher and Logan. They are tough and ruthless and full of football. Like Milwall, no one likes them, but they don’t care.
At the final whistle, there was only Pat Spillane left to go and throw up.