Kerry V Galway 1941
The year 1941 against Galway was to see the Kingdom notch their second run of three-in-a-row All-Ireland triumphs, even though, in actual fact, their three-timer in 1929-41 became a record-equalling 4-in-a- row with their three-point victory over Mayo in the 1932 All-Ireland Final.
Galway, who defeated Kerry in the replayed ‘38 Final, thus deprived the Munster men of their second four-timer.
Cork had again been expected to book their passage to the provincial final that same year, all the moreso in view of their great display against Kerry in the National League at Kenmare. It was a major upset indeed when the Rebel County side were knocked out by Clare in the semi-final.
The Banner County men were seldom in the huntagainst Kerry in the Munster Final which was played at the Limerick Gaelic Grounds on Sunday, July 20,in what was to be Kerry’s sixth successive win in the competition.
Even against the wind in the first half the Kingdom were masters of the situation. Johnny Walsh had aKerry point to open the scoring and this was balanced for Clare by Fitzpatrick. Then in a storming surge the winners battered their opponents’ lines.
Charlie O’Sullivan kicked a point and he followed with a goal and Clare’s position looked precarious when Murt Kelly added two further points. However, they hit back gamely and forced frees from which Comerford scored twice to leave them in arrears at half-time by 1-4 to 0-3.
Kerry were inclined to rest on their oars after the interval, but they were jolted back to reality whenComerford pointed two more frees for Glare to cut their deficit to two points.
That was the signal for Kerry to step into top gear and they shattered the Clare men with a succession of fine scores : Charlie O’Sullivan had a point, Murt Kelly had another from a free and then the latter-day Kerry selector found the net.
The champions tied up the match with further points from O’Sullivan, Walsh and Paddy BawnBrosnan before Comerford had the closing score—a point for Clare.
Kerry were Munster title-holders once again on the score of 2-9 to 0-6. This six-in-a-row run of provincial wins in Munster had only once before been achieved—also by Kerry in the great 1929-’34 era.
The Kerryman had this caustic comment to make at the time: “The brutal fact is that the Munster Football championship in recent years required little winning.”
Thus Kerry went on to clash with Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park on Sunday, August10, a game that was to provide an extraordinary finish. With barely half a minute left the Metropolitans led by 0-4 to 0-3. Then Kerry wereawarded a free about 20 yards out in front of the posts. It looked an easy task . . . but Kerry had missed half a dozen similar kicks during thecourse of the game.
Up stepped Murt Kelly to take the kick amid fierce suspense. The ball hit the top of the right uprightand shot up in the air. There were seconds of nail-biting tension as the fans wondered had the ball gone in-side or outside the upright. The white flag was raised and Kerry were saved on the stroke of time (0-4 each).
It was a game, for the most part, of missed chances. Kerry had opened the proceedings with a point from a free in the early seconds, but they could only manage a further two points, also from placed balls, in the remaining 59 minutes.
The Leinster side too threw away a hatful of good scoring chances over the hour. The game was spoiled as a spectacle with the awarding of no fewer than 61 frees—3O to Kerry and 31 to their rivals. In the 1929 Kerry-Kildare encounter Kerry had the odd free in 57 more than their opponents.
Kerry led at half-time by 0-2 to 0-1, thanks to a brace of points from frees by Murt Kelly, but withthe aid of the wind on the restart Dublin drew level through Banks.
Then the Kingdom went to the front again with another Kelly point, after a point by Charlie O’Sullivan had been disallowed because the whistlehad gone for a free.
Then Dublin streaked through the Kerry defence in a dazzling bout of hand-passing, but with nobody tobeat except Danno Keeffe in the goal Gibbons punched a point after 15 minutes to tie the scores at 0-3 apiece.
Three minutes later Banks kicked a long-range free over the bar for the lead for the Leinster side. Then came Kerry’s last-ditch recovery when, after Gega O’Connor was brought down going through in front of the Dublin posts, Kelly saved the day with that famous closing point.
The replay was on the following Sunday and Tralee was selected on the toss of a coin with Croke Park.Advertisements for the replay informed the public that admission to the Tralee pitch was 1/-, with theStand 1/- extra.
Patrons were also advised to book their reserve stand seats for the Final (price 5/- each) by sending a stamped addressed envelope to Padraig 0Caoimh in Dublin.
Due to the petrol shortage travelling was, of necessity, restricted, there being no trains or buses to the match. Nevertheless, the fans found their way by bicycle and on foot and 15,180 of them (gate £730) passed through the turnstiles on that Sunday of August 17 as compared with the attendance of 15,806 (gate £844) at the drawn game.
As so often happens, the replay took a far different pattern. Kerry were sharper this time and showedvast improvement over their form of the previous week. Against the wind, they scored first from a Murt Kelly free for a foul on Gega O’Connor; Banks levelled from a free before Paddy Bawn Brosnan was fouled and Murt Kelly again obliged from the free kick.
Another foul on O’Connor in the 19th minute sawKelly put Kerry two points clear before Joy pulled one back for the visitors.
Then came the all important Murt Kelly . . . saved the day against Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final.score for the Kingdom. Murt Kelly kicked the ball over his head; it landed in the goalmouth and thereto crash it quickly to the net was the eagle-eyed “Gega” O’Connor from Dingle.
Dublin pulled a score back subsequently to leave Kerry leading by 1-3 to 0-3 at the short whistle.
But it was to be all Kerry in the second half, so much so that the Metropolitans couldn’t raise even asingle flag during this period. The Munster men started the onslaught with a Charlie O’Sullivangoal. Points promptly flowed fromKelly, Sean Brosnan (two), Kelly again, Paddy Bawn Brosnan and Jimmy (“Gawksie”) Gorman.
Dublin tried valiantly at times to pierce Kerry’s rearguard, but with Danno Keeffe in sparkling form their mission was a fruitless one. Kerry wereawarded 19 frees as against 21 for Dublin.
Thus, Kerry were set to contest another All-Ireland Final and their opponents were again to be Galway, who gained a facile victory over Cavan in the other semi-final.
The All-Ireland Final that year was fixed for the first Sunday in September and not the fourth Sunday, which was a break with tradition. Paddy ‘Bawn’ Brosnan . had a hand in the all-important goal by ‘Gega’ O’Connor in the All-Ireland final.
Galway, still smarting after their defeat by Kerry in the previous year’s Final, were determined to avenge that reverse and the fact that they went into special training for the decider showed how serious their approach to the game was.
It is interesting to note that the Tribes-men’s line-out contained an assortment of players from other counties —from Kerry (in the person of Dan Kavanagh, who was later to win an All-Ireland with Kerry in 1946), Roscommon, Mayo, Dublin, Longfordand Clare.
Hundreds of Kerry followers didn’t make the journey to Dublin for the game because of the cancellation of the Sunday services.
Neither was there any “Ghost Train” and the auxiliary on the Saturday evening prior to the gamewas not unduly overloaded with commuters. Still, many Kingdom fans went by car and there were alsothe spartan enthusiasts who set out to make the long journey by bicycle.
The day of the Final turned out to be a gloriously fine afternoon. The sod was dry and there was littleor no breeze blowing. Both teams played as selected. The excitement was intense as the sides paraded before the start to the excited urgings from the attendance of 45,512 (receipts £3,540-12-3).
The ball was thrown in by Mr. Padraig McNamee,from Belfast who was President of the G.A.A., with Kerry playing into the Railway goal.
The Munster men hit the front after only a minute of play when Jimmy (Gawksie) Gorman took a pass from Paddy Bawn Brosnan and banged the ball over the bar for the opening score of the match.
After six minutes Galway’s Muiholland had levelled the score. The Connacht champions appeared to bemuch faster to the ball and Burke, their left corner-forward, put them a point in front. They went further ahead before the end of the first quarter when the formidable John Dunne, receiving possession from a free, shot a clever point.
Kerry hit back and full-forward Murt Kelly sent the ball crashing wide from close range, but thepowerful Tom “Gega” O’Connor won possession from a short kick-out and whipped over a point.
Shortly afterwards, Paddy Bawn Brosnan, playing at left half-forward, had the Kingdom on level terms at 0-3 each with a fine left-legged point.
However, Kerry were finding it extremely difficult to cope with the fast-breaking Galwegians and the latter took the lead again in the 25th minute with a point from Burke. But before the half-time whistle blew Paddy Kennedy placed “Gega” O’Connor for the equaliser, to leave the sides level at 0-4 eachat the interval.
It still looked a wide open issue as the teams reappeared for the second half. Galway it was whomade the initial running with full-forward McDonagh shooting them into the lead with a quick point onthe restart. The Westerners went two points clear (0-6 to 0-4) when Dunne was on target.
However, the Kerrymen were not going to be caught napping. A short kick-out was fastened upon by mid-fielder Sean Brosnan. He found “Gawksie” Gorman and the Rock man, with his back to the posts, kicked a lovely over-head point to reduce the deficit to the minimum, after seven minutes.
And the champions came again. They were awarded a free inside the 50 yards line. Paddy Bawn Brosnanstepped up to take it and he promptly found fellow Dingle man, “Gega” O’Connor, who came clear from a cluster of players and, picking his spot, hammered the ball past Jim McGauran in the Galway goal.
Suddenly, and dramatically, the game had taken a turn-about and Kerry had dashed into a two-pointlead for the first time in the game. The Kerry supporters in the stadium jumped for joy at this turn of events, The Kingdom were now controlling the centre of the field where Sean Brosnan and Paddy Kennedy had taken the measure of Connollyand Kavanagh.
Gorman was again to the fore for Kerry in the 2lst minute of this half when he took a pass from “Gega”O’Connor and booted another point. But this was negatived at the other end when John Dunne pointed a close-in free for the Connacht champions.
Again there was only two points in it and the game still hung delicately in the balance. At this stage Johnny Walsh retired injured and was replaced by Ml. Lyne.
Kerry kept pressing and lured the losers’ backs into conceding fouls. When “Gega” O’Connor was pulled down about 25 yards out Murt Kelly pointed the free to stretch Kerry’s lead to 1-7 to 0-7. O’Connor was fouled again, right in front of the posts, and Murt Kelly put over what was to prove the last score of the game.
Before the final whistle, however, there was to beone all-out Galway onslaught which was to produce a dramatic incident. A Kerry back fouled and, as thereferee, Sergt. P. McKenna of Limerick, consulted with the umpire, for a suspenseful moment the possibility of a penalty was in the air. But the referee awarded Galway a 14 yards free instead.
John Dunne took the kick and tipped it a short distance ahead as all of Galway came storming down on the Kingdom goal. An awesome struggle ensued with bodies falling in all directions.
But, in the end, the indestructible Tadhg Healy emerged from the pack with the ball clutched firmlyand Kerry were awarded a free out. Bill Myers, who had been subjected to rough treatment earlier in the game, came off injured and was replaced by Tim Landers.
The final whistle sounded with Kerry victors on the score 1-8 to 0-7 and All-Ireland champions for thethird year running. In the course of the hour Kerry had been awarded 24 frees to Galway’s 22 and there were only eight wides in all, two in the second half.
The Kerry Team:
D. O’Keeffe; W. Myers, J.Keohane, T. Healy; W.Dillon(capt.), W. Casey, E. Walsh; S.Brosnan, P. Kennedy; J. Walsh, T.O’Connor, P. B. Brosnan; J. O’Gorman, M.Kelly, C. O’Sullivan. Subs.,M. Lyne for J. Walsh; T. Landers for W. Myers.
The Galway Team:
J. McGauran; M. Raftery, P. McDonagh, D. O’Sullivan(capt.); F. Cunniffe, R. Beggs, J.Duggan; C. Connolly, D. Kavanagh; J. Hanniffy, j. Dunne, j. Canavan; E.Muiholland, P. McDonagh, J. Burke. Sub.—P.Thornton.