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Brave Kerry down Dubs thanks to ‘unkickable’ Seánie Shea free

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Adam Moynihan reports from Croke Park

All-Ireland SFC Semi-Final

Kerry 1-14 Dublin 1-13

HT: Kerry 1-8 Dublin 0-6

Speaking to the media after the game, Jack O’Connor admitted that he didn’t think it was kickable.

77 minutes on the clock. Draw game. 54 metres out. A place in the All-Ireland final on the line. Deafening noise from Hill 16. A stiff wind coming the wrong way. A decade of Dublin dominance hanging in the air.

Seán O’Shea, who had fluffed a penalty in the first half, stands upright, draws one last deliberate intake of breath, strides, and strikes.

It wasn’t kickable. Until it was.

When the dust settles, O’Shea’s point – the final, killer blow in an absorbing slugfest – could well go down as the greatest act of individual brilliance in the history of Kerry football.

Joyous scenes followed the final whistle as Kerry booked a spot in the All-Ireland final where they will face Galway. That’s two weeks down the road. For now, players, management and supporters can bask in one of the county’s sweetest ever wins.

ATMOSPHERE

As the match began, the atmosphere inside a sun-soaked Croke Park was spine-tingling. Due to a combination of Covid and premature championship exits, both sets of fans had been waiting for a big Dublin-Kerry match like this since 2019. Certainly in terms of drama, this battle did not disappoint.

Dublin corner back Lee Gannon kicked the first score of the game into the Hill and into a strong breeze, but the Sky Blues quickly found themselves chasing the game.

Seán O’Shea equalised within seconds of Gannon’s opener and Kerry fans really found their voice in the fourth minute when O’Shea latched on to David Moran’s long ball before dispatching a cool finish beyond the reach of Evan Comerford.

Dean Rock (free) and Brian Howard replied for the Dubs and then Kerry scored three on the bounce. David Clifford (free), Tom O’Sullivan and Clifford again pushed the lead out to four in the 12th minute.

That gap was cut to three by John Small before Clifford grabbed the spotlight once again with two superb scores. The first came from a mark after a great catch and the second was a thing of beauty from long range.

While he was shaping up to kick the latter shot, John Small was dragging Paul Geaney down off the ball, an incident which resulted in a black card.

Rock and O’Shea exchanged scores and then O’Shea missed a golden opportunity in the 31st minute when his tame penalty was saved by Comerford. The Kerry centre forward lashed at the rebound from close range but Comerford saved again, and a scuffle broke out as the Dubs accused O’Shea of dangerous play.

Tempers cooled as Comerford slowly recovered, and the Munster champions finished the half in the ascendency when David Clifford fired over a brilliant individual point. Kerry led by five at the break. Half the job done, and no more than that.

SPARKED

The Kingdom appeared to be handling the game well in the early stages of the second half but a fabulously executed goal by Cormac Costello in the 45th minute sparked the home team into life. Ciarán Kilkenny fisted over to make it a one-point game shortly after.

Man of the Match Paudie Clifford tagged on two crucial scores as he and his colleagues tried to hold back the wave but three straight points by Kilkenny, James McCarthy, and Kilkenny again drew Dublin level with a minute of normal time to play.

Croker was rocking at this point and the nerves of Kerry supporters were jangling, but in the 73rd minute O’Shea engineered a Kerry free near the goal which he then converted to put Kerry ahead.

Dean Rock equalised with a free of his own two minutes later and the game looked to be heading for extra time until David Clifford was fouled way out from the posts.

Goalkeeper Shane Ryan came forward to offer his services but O’Shea waved him away. He didn’t want a way out. He was the man for the job.

Kerry's number 11. The captain on the field. The man who kicked the unkickable free.

KERRY: S Ryan; G O’Sullivan, J Foley, T O'Sullivan (0-1); B Ó Beaglaoich, G White, T Morley; J Barry, D Moran; D O’Connor, S O’Shea (1-4, 2f), S O’Brien; P Clifford (0-2), D Clifford (0-6, 1f, 1m), P Geaney.

Subs: D Moynihan (0-1) for O’Brien (41), K Spillane for Geaney (41), A Spillane for Moran (51), P Murphy for G O’Sullivan (62), J O’Connor for White (66).

DUBLIN: E Comerford; E Murchan, M Fitzsimons, L Gannon (0-1); J Small (0-1), J Cooper, J McCarthy (0-1); B Fenton (0-1), T Lahiff; S Bugler (0-1), B Howard (0-1), C Kilkenny (0-3); C Costello (1-0), D Rock (0-3f), L O’Dell.

Subs: P Small (0-1) for O’Dell (40), D Byrne for Cooper (41), S McMahon for Murchan (57), N Scully for Howard (61), C Murphy for Fitzsimons (72).

Attendance: 73,602

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Glorious weather for Kerry County Coastal Rowing championships

It was a day of glorious sunshine yesterday (Sunday) as Flesk Valley Rowing Club hosted the 2022 Kerry County Coastal Rowing championships for the very first time in beautiful Castlelough […]

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It was a day of glorious sunshine yesterday (Sunday) as Flesk Valley Rowing Club hosted the 2022 Kerry County Coastal Rowing championships for the very first time in beautiful Castlelough Bay on Lough Lein.

Hundreds flocked to the Valley shore to see the coastal clubs of Kerry race in crews from Under 12 to Masters. As well as clubs from around the Ring of Kerry, there was a strong representation from the Killarney clubs with the Workmen, Commercials and Fossa wearing their colours with pride. The atmosphere, colour, fun and fierce competition produced a spectacular day that will live long in the memory.

The event was opened by the Councillor John O’Donoghue, vice chair of the Killarney Municipal District who congratulated Flesk Valley on their centenary, which occurred during 1920, and wished all of the clubs a successful day’s racing.

The first race was preceded by a special blessing of the boats by Fr Eugene McGillycuddy, who also remembered Brendan Teahan of Cromane Rowing Club in his prayers.

Afterwards John Fleming, chair of Flesk Valley, expressed his immense pride and satisfaction with the success of the regatta.

“It’s our first time ever hosting a regatta, but we wanted to do something special to mark our 102 years in existence,” he said.

“It was a lot of work, but we have a fantastic hard-working committee in Flesk Valley who really pulled out all the stops to make it happen, and we received fantastic support from our members, parents, other clubs and local businesses.”

John also thanked the Kerry Coastal Rowing Association, in particular Mary B Teahan and Andrew Wharton, and the staff of the Killarney National Park for all their support and encouragement in hosting this event.

This was a qualifying event and the Kerry clubs will be heading to Wexford next weekend to complete for honours at the All-Ireland Coastal Rowing Championships.

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Live referee mics should be the norm – swearing concerns be damned

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by Adam Moynihan

I was disappointed to learn that the GAA are preventing TG4 from using their live referee mic in this Sunday’s Wexford hurling final.

(And not just because I had already written an article saying how great live referee mics are and how they are sure to be implemented across the board. Ctrl + A. Delete.)

TG4’s GAA coverage is superb and they raised the bar once again when they mic’d up referee John O’Halloran for the Kerry hurling final between Causeway and Ballyduff.

Pinning a microphone on the referee is standard practice in televised rugby and judging by the positive response to Gaelic games’ first foray into this territory, I was expecting it to become the norm.

It still might but, explaining their decision to The 42, the GAA said that they were not aware beforehand of the ref mic being trialled in Stack Park on Sunday.

“They believe such a development will require more discussion and education if it is to be implemented on a more regular basis in live TV coverage and could possibly need a policy change,” Fintan O’Toole reported.

The image of the Association is surely the primary concern here.

Players and managers – usually the worst behaved participants when it comes to things like swearing – will be among those who get “educated” on the subject. Some verbal abuse that might otherwise be muted for television viewers will, in all likelihood, be picked up by the referee’s microphone. You would imagine that the teams involved will be reminded of this the week of a televised game.

It also makes sense from Croke Park’s point of view to speak to referees and give them guidance on how to conduct themselves when the mic is on.

In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if senior GAA figures are currently fretting over the possibility of an agitated ref making headlines for something they say in the heat of the moment. And make no mistake about it, some match officials can eff and jeff with the best of them.

A friend of mine (a Wexford man, funnily enough) recalls an incident when a teammate was unceremoniously taken out of it by an opponent.

“Ah ref, for f***’s sake!” the victim complained.

“I gave you the f***ing free,” the referee replied. “What do you want me to do, slap him in the face with a wet fish?!”

The GAA might think that a referee swearing like that would leave all of us red-faced. In reality the clip would be a viral sensation and the general public would probably call for the official in question to run for Áras an Uachtárain. (He’d get my ****ing vote.)

The odd swear word from someone involved is bound to sneak through every now and then but you’d hear the same – and plenty more – at any match you attend from Cahersiveen to County Antrim.

Implementing the referee mic on a wider scale is a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned. It doesn’t appear to take a huge amount of effort or expense for the broadcaster to set it up and, more importantly, it offers a wonderful insight into the unknown.

Listening to referees explain their decisions in real time will clear a lot of things up for commentators, analysts and the media. We will no longer have to speculate about what they did or did not see, or what specific rule is being cited, or why.

Viewers, especially those who might be casual followers of the sport, will appreciate it too and become more educated; I know that’s how I feel when I watch rugby, for example.

It just leads to greater transparency and understanding.

Well done to TG4 and the Kerry County Board for being the pioneers. I’m sure others will follow their lead – as soon as the GAA allow them to do so.

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