Monday, September 18, 2006

Thank the gods for the youngsters

Well. The less said about yesterday's final the better. One thing though. Because I am such a champion of the underdog, I sometimes fail to give enough credit to the really successful counties and their players. I have to hand it to Kerry; they are superb in everything they do. And what players they have in the O Se's and Cooper and Donaghy and so many more. If they were Armagh men for example, I wouldn't stop on about them. So, congratulations Kerry, well done.


The other thing about Kerry is that they keep producing new talent. Take the midfielder on yesterday's Kerry minor team; Walsh I think his name is. A fantastic footballer who could walk onto any senior team in the country.

Now, the minors. It was totally remiss of me not to mention the minor final before this. Roscommon played Kerry in a curtain-raiser that upstaged the headliner. My dad's from Roscommon and he lived every minute of yesterday's match. So did I.

Twenty-seven minutes in and Kerry were cruising at 0-8 to 0-3. Walsh was pulling every ball from the sky at midfield and the Kerry forwards were killing the Ros defense.

Thankfully, Roscommon remembered how they had beaten Meath in the semi-final and, with a couple of changes, they got stuck in. Donal Shine was switched to midfield where he put some manners on Walsh. And from here, it all started to go right for the Westerners. Roscommon knocked over eight unanswered points in thirteen of the most incredible minutes of football seen this year.

Half-time score: Kerry 0-8 : 0-6 Roscommon.

Roscommon restarted as they had paused - they banged over another three points - and with about twenty minutes to go they took the lead at 0-9 to 0-8.

I muted the TV from where I was sitting in Claremorris and I could hear my old man roaring in Mohill.

But Kerry are Kerry and back they came. With ten minutes or so to go, they were up 0-12 to 0-11. It was (cliche alert!) roller coaster stuff now.

Roscommon equalised. Kerry retook the lead. Then, Roscommon hit two to go 0-14 to 0-13 with one minute left! By this stage I didn't have to kill the sound on the TV to hear Jim Snr.

Kerry equalised and straight afterwards went back in front due to a terrible kick-out by the Roscommon goalkeeper. And that was it. Kerry All Ireland Minor Champions.

Hang on, that wasn't it.

How to be so young and so fucking cool, I don't know.

Roscommon's O Gara, with his back practically to goal, slotted the ball over the bar. I went apeshit. The final whistle and it was all over, for now.

A draw and all to do again. I rang home. Trish had a laugh listening to two men who could hardly speak trying to have a conversation.

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