Kerry win All Ireland Number 37 !!
Kerry win a 37th All Ireland title with a 2-09 to 12 points win over Donegal at Croke Park. This will be known as the day that Eamonn Fitzmaurice and his Kerry team beat “the system”. Yes Kerry did get sucked into the same type of game and played with 12 men behind the ball but they also used the ball in the correct manner and took the chances when they arose. In the first minute of the game Paul Geaney and not Kieran Donaghy popped up to fire Kerry in front with a wonderfully taken goal. Throughout the first half Kerry kept Paul Geaney in the full forward line and put James O Donaghue in the centre forward position to direct operations now as it turned out he was forced to defend for the most of the first half and was also forced to shoot from 50 yards out.
Donegal concentrated on their kick out and seemed happy for Kerry to have possession of the football and to their great credit they had great success in sniffing out most of Kerry’s attacks. But Kerry who went man for man and copied the Donegal “system “ to the letter of the law were far better at picking off scores at crucial moments throughout the game. Michael Murphy was played at midfield and seemed out of the game for large parts. The Kerry midfield of Maher and Moran did well around the middle even if Paul Durcan kept them out of the game in the first half with his short kick outs. It was 1-03 to 6 points at half time, no classic but enthralling from minute one.
Also at half time, It seemed that Donegal like in the semi-final would bide their time and use there high intensity game to repel Kerry and after 10 forgettable minutes at the start of the second half where both teams seemed to treat it as a training session with poor shot selection being to the fore.
Eamonn Fitzmaurice and his backroom staff deserve huge credit for putting a plan in place and then going out and executing it to the letter of the law. Contrary to popular opinion I doubt very much whether todays performance will mark the end of Kerry playing the catch and kick game and now they might just reshape the game for the better into the future.
Go back to the Munster final where they played some of their best football of the year and where they also deployed Declan O Sullivan in a quarter back type role where he orchestrated the game and put players into scoring positions. That was a sight to behold. Then today , yes Kerry forgot about the kick and catch game, but they dug in and as they say they cut a cloth to fit the pattern of play that was to frustrate Donegal and by god did it work , Yes it did.
Will anyone have any stand out memories from the All Ireland final 2014 , I doubt it but maybe the one abiding memory will be Kieran Donaghy collecting a Paul Durcan kick out and slamming it into the net. Today’s final as they say wasn’t one for the purist but it was an advertisement for heart , guts and determination from both teams might I add.
Jim Mc Guinness will go back and will assess what happened today and will come back next year with a new plan or new “ system” to conquer what Kerry did today but my feeling is that today was a watershed moment for football , The “ system “ was defeated even if Kerry used the” system” to out muscle and out think Donegal.
To the local man in the Kerry panel , Shane Enright I congratulate you and salute your marvellous achievement , well done !! You have done yourself , your Mam Stella , Dad Tom and brother Kevin and Sister Maria proud. Well done today Shane , You left here yesterday dreaming of All Ireland glory and you will arrive back in the parish the proud owner of a much sought after commodity an All Ireland winners medal…
Cian Mc Gibney