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Published on 28 Jan 2007
What a year...1982! Kerry had won the four previous All Ireland titles with a team of players that were simply magic once they found their rhythm.
In 1979 I sat on the long wall that skirts the football field in Miltown Malbay and saw the Kingdom score 9-21 against my own county. It became known as the Miltown Massacre !! This was a team of legends from Charlie Nelligan in goal to John Egan, Bomber Liston and Mikey Sheehy at the other end.
They had arrived on the scene in 1975 - a crowd of young bachelors that swept all before them including the Dubs in the All Ireland Final. So was this it?
Seven years later...their crowning glory? A record 5 in a row never achieved before!! It's strange to even reflect about it now. Those same mixed emotions return. You wanted the Kerry lads to do it and yet if they won the All Ireland again...surely it wasn't good for football to have one team dominate so much?
And so to All Ireland Final Day 1982. Still those mixed emotions rummaging around in my head. Kerry leading with seconds left on the clock. Ah yeah...fair play... Kerry were about to win 5 in a row and sure...who could begrudge them?
And yet ...one found oneself shouting for Offaly to have one last lash !! Offaly take a quick free under the old Cusack Stand. It's kicked in high...a tussle for possession...the elegant Tommy Doyle (whose relations are from my home village of Quilty) and substitute Seamus Darby ( who coached me at under age level when he came to my home village on holidays and also had cousins nearby ! ).
Did Seamus push Tommy?? Years later, I asked PJ McGrath ,the match referee that day from Mayo and later Chairman of the Connacht Council who categorically declared that there was no push!
Darby turned and kicked a rocket past Charlie in the goal at the Hill16 end. All over the world people reacted...some cried tears of sorrow (mainly Kerry men and women) more cried tears of joy (take your pick from Offaly to Alaska) and some just didn't believe what they had just seen.
The 5 in a row dream was over...a moment that changed the course of GAA history.