Kerry v Kildare 1931 All-Ireland.

The year of 1931 proved to be one of the most famous years of the Kingdom of Kerry. Kerry continued on the winning trail by beating a good Cavan team 1-3 to 1-2 in the National league Final, despite going in at half time trailing to County Cavan 1-1 to Kerry’s 0-1.

The Cavan team were very gratuitous in their defeat and at the County Board meeting they declared, “That we place on record our appreciation of the sporting gesture of the Gaels of Cavan in congratulating Kerry on winning the National League and repudiating allegations of rough play by the Kerry players.”

On April that year Kerry where successful on winning the league title against Kildare 2-9 to 1-2. Then came the historic trip to the USA, where Kerry became virtually world famous.

Early on the morning of the 4th of May the Kerry team set off across the Atlantic. The sailing turned out to be quite an experience with storms, seasickness and the length of time it took.

However after a few days rest to recover in New York the Kerry team where ready to take on the Yanks. On a previous challenge in 1927 Kerry lost 1-7 to New York’s 3-11, but it would be a different story this time.

The first game, in front of over 40,000, Kerry won 0-9 to 0-6. In the second game in Chicago 55,000 supporters saw them win by 13 points. Back to the Yankee stadium they beat two more teams and in the fourth and final game against a Massachusetts selection they finished unbeaten with a 4-5 to 2-2 victory.

The Kerry team sailed back to Ireland to a momentous welcome in Killarney and Tralee. August was to be their next serious game, the Munster Final against Tipperary winning in style even with a less than full strength team 5-8 to 0-2.

When the All-Ireland semi-final came along on August 30th Mayo once again where to be the opposition at Tuam. Few expected Kerry to lose and when Jackie Ryan leapt high and punched the ball into the net followed by a point from O`Regan the writing was on the wall.

At half time Kerry lead 1-5 to 0-1. However Mayo had plenty of fight in them and within minutes into the second half scored a goal and an incredibly tough game began to take place.

Points from Mayo’s Courell and Dwyer brought them to just two points of Kerry. It was end-to-end stuff and Kerry where greatly relieved when a goal from Mayo was not to be, even though 100`s of Mayo supporters swarmed onto the pitch in excitement.

When the over eager supporters got back off the pitch Mayo where so disappointed that Kerry easily kept them at bay leaving them winners 1-6 to 1-4.

So it was Kerry V Kildare again. There were tremendous expectations for a great final. The Bishop of Kildare threw in the ball and it was Kildare who scored the first point. Kerry fought back and went into the lead with points from Miko Doyle and Martin O`Regan.

Kildare were playing brilliantly with their excellent hand passing game and went back ahead by two points. Kildare were by far the sharper of the two teams and went in at half time looking stronger and confident.

The Kerry selectors decided to make some changes during the break and the changes they made proved to be inspirational, meeting with instant success drawing level after 15 minutes. Kildare fought back with a brilliant point by paddy Whitty from a full 50 yards.

However Kerry once again took the lead with a point from Ryan and knocked the stuffing out of Kildare with a killer goal from Paul Russell. It was victory and the Sam Maguire for Kerry again.


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