Killarney Advertiser Sports Editor and former St Brendan’s captain Adam Moynihan selects a dream team of some of the best footballers to ever play for the Sem.
For at least a hundred years now, St Brendan’s College has been a dominant force in schools football, winning no fewer than 22 Corn Uí Mhuirí titles, four Hogan Cups and providing the Kerry seniors with countless top class footballers along the way.
Whittling it down to the bare 15 is an impossible task - a huge number of fantastic players are mightily unfortunate not to be included – but through discussions with some Sem stars from bygone eras and a thorough examination of the history books, a version of a St Brendan’s dream team was finally produced.
Some players earned their places via their performances in St Brendan’s colours, others for their achievements thereafter. Some were boarders, others day boys. But they all have at least two things in common: they are all Sem boys and they are all supremely talented footballers.
1. Johnny Culloty
A highly skilled player who won his first All-Ireland for Kerry as a corner forward in 1954, Culloty didn’t make a name for himself as a goalkeeper until many years after he graduated from the Sem. The Legion legend kept goal for The Kingdom from 1959 to 1971, winning four more Celtic crosses in the process.
2. Denny Lyne
The fifth of the famous Lyne brothers of Cleeney, Denny was an unusually stylish full/corner back in an era of tough-tackling defenders. An All-Ireland winner with Kerry in 1946, he also won the County Championship with the Legion that same year before captaining The Kingdom in their momentous clash against Cavan in the Polo Grounds in New York in 1947.
3. John O’Keeffe
It took the Sem 23 years to win their first Hogan Cup and, somewhat ironically, it was a Tralee man who led them to the promised land. Athletic all-rounder John O’Keeffe from the Austin Stacks club was a boarder in St Brendan’s and he captained the school’s senior footballers to victory over St Mary’s of Galway in 1969. He went on to become a mainstay of Kerry’s Golden Years team, claiming no fewer than seven All-Irelands and five All-Stars along with a Footballer of the Year award in 1975.
4. Mike McCarthy
McCarthy is one player who didn’t really excel in Sem colours. In fact, when he was in sixth year, he didn’t make the school’s senior team. Kilcummin’s quiet man would subsequently blossom into one of the most reliable corner backs of his generation and he was a key factor in the All-Ireland wins of 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2009.
5. Jackie Lyne
Younger brother of Denny, Jackie is perhaps the best-known sibling in Legion’s most famous footballing family. A versatile, barrel-chested ball player, he is regarded by many as the finest footballer of his generation and one of Kerry’s all-time greats. Jackie won a Kerry colleges title with the Sem before securing two All-Irelands with Kerry in 1946 and 1953.
6. Séamus Moynihan
Séamo was an influential figure for St Brendan’s as the school bridged a 23-year gap to claim their second Hogan Cup in 1992. A couple of months later, the Glenflesk native was lining out at midfield for Kerry in the Munster Championship and a remarkable intercounty career was born. He won four All-Irelands and three All-Stars over the course of 15 years in the green and gold.
7. Donie O’Sullivan
Much like Mike McCarthy in the corner behind him, Spa man Donie O’Sullivan was not a star in his school days but he came into his own at senior level. He played over 100 games in all competitions for Kerry, operating at corner back, half back and midfield over the course of an impressive 14-year intercounty career. The county’s first All-Star in 1971.
8. Páidí Ó Sé
Ask most people about Páidí Ó Sé’s time in the Sem and they’re sure to bring up his expulsion but focusing on this alone is doing the great An Ghaeltacht clubman a great disservice. Páidí won three O’Sullivan Cups and two Corn Uí Mhuirí’s with St Brendan’s, starring at midfield as the Killarney school reached the All-Ireland final and semi-final in 1972 and 1973 respectively. An eight-time All-Ireland winner with Kerry and a five-time All-Star.
9. Paudie Lynch
Another member of the victorious 1969 team, Paudie Lynch from Beaufort was a superb player who became a trusted servant for Kerry during the Mick O’Dwyer era. Lynch could play multiple positions, lining out at midfield in the 1975 All-Ireland against Dublin before moving into the backs in his later years. An ever-present during The Kindgom’s historic four-in-a-row run from 1978 to 1981.
10. Dara Moynihan
The 21-year-old from Spa still has his whole senior career ahead of him but he gets the nod in this team for the significant part he played in the school’s third and fourth Hogan Cup triumphs. Moynihan was instrumental against St Pat’s of Derry in the 2016 decider as he kicked four points from play and he repeated the trick as captain in 2017 when once again he led his team to glory in Croke Park, this time against St Peter’s of Wexford.
11. Dick Fitzgerald
This Crokes icon was the first superstar of the GAA. After studying in the Sem and later the Presentation Brothers College in Cork, Dickeen won five All-Irelands with Kerry, including the county’s first in 1903 and two as captain in 1913 and 1914. The Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney is named in his honour.
12. Pat Spillane
Another offshoot of the Lyne dynasty, Pat Spillane boarded in St Brendan’s where he won a pair of Munster titles and also reached the Hogan Cup final alongside Páidí Ó Sé in 1972. The incredibly fit and remarkably skilful Templenoe man went on to forge one of the finest intercounty careers the GAA has ever seen, winning no fewer than eight All-Irelands and nine All-Stars, both of which stand as a records to this day.
13. Colm Cooper
It’s amazing to think that one of the greatest talents in the history of the game wasn’t necessarily a superstar in his school days, but that’s how it was for Dr Crokes legend Colm Cooper. A student at the Sem during the lean years and not always a guaranteed starter, Gooch more than made up for it over the course of a glittering career for club and county. One of the best to ever do it.
14. David Clifford
Despite having talented teams in the nineties and noughties, after ’92 the Sem somehow managed to go another 24 years without winning the coveted Hogan Cup. Then Cliffy came along. The Fossa prodigy lit up the schools scene in 2016 and he grabbed national attention for the very first time by scoring 2-5 in the final against St Pat’s. Now the captain of the Kerry senior footballers, the 21-year-old already has two All-Stars to his name.
15. Tadhgie Lyne
Nicknamed the Prince of Forwards, Tadhgie Lyne (no relation to the Lynes of Cleeney) is remembered as one of the most stylish footballers to ever come out of Killarney. He helped the Sem to two Munster titles in 1946 and 1947 and although he never made the Kerry minors, the Crokes man went on to win three All-Irelands, a Footballer of the Year award and was Man of the Match in the 1953 final when he kicked six points from wing forward against Armagh.
Cronin’s title fight to be streamed at Jimmy Brien’s Bar
Kevin Cronin is aiming to make history on Saturday night by becoming the first Kerry man to win a professional boxing title – and you can watch it all at Jimmy Brien’s Bar in Killarney.
The Milltown native will fight for the vacant Boxing Union of Ireland Celtic light heavyweight title when he goes up against Limerick man Jamie Morrissey at the Europa Hotel in Belfast. The eight-round bout is expected to start at some time between 8pm and 10pm.
Cronin and Morrissey are both undefeated in the professional ranks (Cronin is 5-0 and Morrissey is 4-0) so a high-quality encounter is on the cards. Morrissey is looking to become the first two-weight champion having already secured the super middleweight belt.
For those who cannot make it to Belfast or to Jimmy Brien’s, the fight will be streamed live on Cronin’s Facebook page.
Aidan O’Mahony opens up about his fight with depression
By Sean Moriarty Kerry football legend Aidan O’Mahony will appear on TV tonight (Thursday) to speak about his mental health battle. Aidan, who will appear on the popular TG4 Laochra […]
By Sean Moriarty
Kerry football legend Aidan O’Mahony will appear on TV tonight (Thursday) to speak about his mental health battle.
Aidan, who will appear on the popular TG4 Laochra Gael tonight – will speak openly about how he overcame chronic health problems in his youth to take his place on one of the greatest teams of all time.
But when he was in his prime, he became embroiled in controversy as the first GAA player to fail a drugs test.
His mental health deteriorated and after a spell in a treatment centre, he faced the greatest challenge of his life – to rediscover his purpose and his love of the game. He found both in a promise he made when his father passed away.
Five All-Ireland senior medals, two All-Star awards and over 70 senior championship outings in Kerry colours, shows just what the Rathmore man gave to Kerry football.
He may have retired from inter-county football six years ago, but only a few short weeks ago he was part of the Rathmore club side that won the All-Ireland Intermediate Club title.
Now, at 42 years of age he is ready to call time on an illustrious career.
“I needed to step away from reality, society, everything that happened externally over the years had crept in and I had a decision whether I wanted to go down a dark path or go and get help about it,” the Tralee Garda said.
Tonight’s programme will also feature contributions from his former teammate Kieran Donaghy and local councillor Niall ‘Botty’ O’Callaghan, as well as family members who helped him through the good and bad times.
Trilogy of comedy on offer by Dóchas Drama
By Sean Moriarty Dóchas Drama Group will present a series of three short comedy plays next week. All three plays...
Killarney secures three gold medals in national business awards
Three hotels in Killarney have won gold medals at the Virgin Media Business Gold Medal Awards. Now in its 33rd...
First classic car event of the season
The winter is finally over for classic car enthusiasts in the wider Killarney area – as the first classic car...
Theme for St Patrick’s Day Parade revealed
By Sean Moriarty This year’s St Patrick’s Day Parade in Killarney will celebrate all that is good about the town....
New chamber president to be elected today
Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce will have a new President later today (Friday). The Chamber’s Annual General Meeting takes...