Kerry V Mayo 1932 The 4 In A Row

Could Kerry make it four in a row? That was the question uppermost in everyone in County Kerry in the year of 1932. The feat had already been accomplished by Wexford, from 1915 to 1918—but if the four in a row came, who was to say that Kerry wouldn’t go at least one better.

In April, Kerry had a friendly against Mayo at Castlebar, but only a few of the regular team travelled and they were hammered by the slick Mayo side. However it was a different story on the first Sunday in May when Kerry met the Universities at Tralee in a game to mark the official opening of the new stand at Austin Stack Park. Kerry won easily.

G.A.A. President, Sean McCarthy, attended, and in an address he said that the Gaels of Kerry and Ireland Ireland owed much to Austin Stack. The new stand was named after him so that generations to come would have “some little token of his name, something by which to recall his memory and inspire our people.”

The purchase price of the Austin Stack Park pitch, incidentally, was £800.

On May 22, Kerry opened their Championship campaign against Limerick at Newcastle West. The Limerick men offered very stern resistance for twenty minutes, but then Kerry got into their stride and they led by 1-7 to 0-2 at half-time.

Limerick hit back for a goal, by O’Connell, early in the second half,but they never looked like making a real fight of it and Kerry finished completely on top. Goalkeeper Ryan, who had a number of great saves to his credit, saved Limerick from a very heavy defeat. Final score:1-11 to 1-3.

Kerry’s Con Brosnan was injured late in the first half and had toleave the field. Interestingly, goal-keeper Danno Keeffe moved out-field and the great minor ‘keeper, Brendan Reidy, took over betweenthe posts.

Missing from the Kerry team was Eamon Fitzgerald, who was chosen to represent Ireland in the Olympic Games at Los Angeles. He competed in the hop, step and jump and qualified for the final with a leap of 48 ft. 2 inches. In fact, he missed a bronze medal by only 1inch, being that margin behind the third man, Oshima, of Japan.The gold medal was won by another Japanese, Chuei Nambu, who set up a new world record with a leap of 51 ft. 6 inches.

Because of the Olympics, Fitzgerald was to miss Kerry’s entirechampionship campaign, and Kerry also found themselves without Tim Donnell, because of injury. Yet, despite the absence of thispair and also Joe Barrett and Joe O’Sullivan, Kerry managed to beatan all-star American team in Tralee on July 31 by 1-8 to 2-2. There was a huge welcome for the American side in Tralee and, according to The Kerryman, the crowd at Austin Stack Park for the game wasthe biggest ever seen there.

Included in the American team was Bill Landers, brother of John Joe and Tim, and subsequently he helped Kerry in their all-Ireland campaign. He was a substitute in the All-Ireland final against Mayo and came on early in the second half for the injured Con Geaney.

A week after beating the American team, Kerry faced Tipperary inthe Munster Final at Carrick-on-Suir. The Kerry men had wonevery Munster title bar one since 1923—the exception was 1928—andthey were installed as very hot favourites, despite rumours that fourmembers of the American team would be playing with Tipperary.

Those rumours proved groundless and although Kerry were againwithout Joe Barrett and Joe O’Sullivan (plus Tim O’Donnell andEamon Fitzgerald), they won with a lot in hand.

Martin O’Regan opened the scoring with a point and after Tipperary had levelled, through Keane, O’Regan struck for a well-takengoal. Kerry followed with points by J. J. Landers, Brosnan, Regan, Geaney and Ryan, and then, before half-time, O’Regan put his name to another goal. This ended all interest in the outcome and Kerry went on to win by 3-10 to 1-4, the third goal coming from Tim Landers.

According to reports, Kerry could have doubled their winning margin, such was the one-sidedness of the game. It was compared with the Monaghan debacle of 1930. Hardly the most auspicious way to open a pitch called after one of the founders of the G.A.A., Maurice Davin!

The Kerry line-out for that Munster Final makes interesting reading.It was: Danno Keeffe; Dee O’Connor, Paddy Whitty, jack Walsh;Paul Russell, Bill Kinnerk, Tim Landers; Miko Doyle (capt.), BobStack; Con Geaney, j. J. Landers, Jack Flavin; Martin O’Regan, Jac-kie Ryan, Con Brosnan.

Joe Barrett and Joe O’Sullivan were to be back for the All-IrelandSemi-Final against Dublin on August 21, and it was just as well, forKerry almost lost what turned out to be a memorable game.

All the signs indicated a comfortable victory for Kerry. Only oneDublin man_McDOnnell_was considered good enough to be pickedon the Leinster team for the Railway Cup, and Munster, without JoeBarrett and Tim O’Donnell, had run that Leinster side to two points.

As well, Kerry had met Dublin in the National League the previous November and although without Joe Barrett, Jack Walsh, Dee O’Connor, Joe O’Sullivan, Paul Russell and Jackie Ryan, they had triumphed by two points (1-10 to 3-2).

But Dublin were a very different team in Croke Park that Augustafternoon. Their defence was particularly outstanding, and, in fact,it took a very lucky goal by Paul Russell four minutes from the endto extricate Kerry from very deep trouble.

The first half of the game was notable in this respect: not a singleflag was raised at either end. The play was fast and furious from thestart and a number of scoring chances were presented, hut not oneforward could put his name to a score. Even in those days, when lowscoring was often a feature of games, this was remarkable. It was not until the third minute of the second half that the stalemate was broken: j. j. Landers got under a fifty kicked by Miko Doyle and punched over a point. But Dublin’s reply came very swiftly. The ball was kicked out and not a Kerry man touched it before it was sent over the bar by McDonnell.

Kerry regained the lead when Jackie Ryan pointed, after collecting a pass from O’Regan, but then, after they had missed a great chance,Dublin found the net. Scorer was Dowd, who punched the ball homefollowing some bunching in the Kerry goalmouth.

Soon afterwards, the Kerry net shook again—and how the Dublincrowd roared But the score was not allowed, as one of the umpires had signalled that the ball had first gone over the end line.

This was a precious let-off for Kerry, but as time ticked away their situation became rather desperate. All attempts at scoring proved futile, with the Dublin backs brilliantly in control. The only close call Dublin had was when Tim Landers hit the upright, but Brennan quickly gathered and cleared upfield.

Then Lady Luck came to Kerry’s aid in a big way. Paul Russell wonpossession outfield from a free by Paddy Whitty and sent a specula-tive shot goalwards. There appeared to be no danger whatever in thekick, but Dublin ‘keeper, McDonnell, was either unsighted or misjudged the ball because it went all the way to the back of the net.Kerry had turned a two-point deficit into a one-point lead!

It was indeed a crueL blow to Dublin, hut they still had time to save the day and they stormed to the attack. There was one very tense moment when McCann landed a fifty in the goalniouth and in thescrimmage that developed the ball was kicked narrowly wide by a Dublin player.

The excitement was tremendous in those closing stages, with the Kerry backs doing well to hold out, and then, just before the final whistle, Kerry clinched victory when Martin O’Regan pointed. Con Brosnan had crossed to Jackie Ryan and Ryan found O’Regan who deftly kicked over.

It was a game which had the critics lauding. This is how TheIrish Independent summed up:

One of the greatest displays of football ever witnessed Croke Park or elsewhere. It was a wonderful struggle, packed with thrills from start to finish, and as an exhibition of speed and dash, grit and vigour, and all the other qualities that contribute to the best that there is in the Gaelic game, new heights were reached. Dublin, beyond a shadow of doubt, were unlucky losers.

The Kerryrnan: “It was Kerry’s hardest game in recent years. Dublin put up a vastly better fight against our men than Kildare everdid. They seem likely heirs to the football crown.’

Oddly enough, Dublin were not to win the All-Ireland title until 1942—and Kerry bagged another three before then.

A week after heating Dublin, Kerry again faced the American team in Tralee and this time, before an attendance of 8,000, they won far more easily—by 4-6 to 1-4. Then came a challenge against Wexford at Coalisland, Co. Tyrone, and after trailing by 0-6 to 0-2 at half-time Kerry lost by 0-9 to 0-8.

But nobody took any notice of that reverse. Kerry went in as veryfirm favourites to heat Mayo in the All-Ireland Final on September 25; indeed, only 25,816 spectators turned up to see the game, despitethe fact that only two points had separated the teams in the All-Ire-land semi-final the previous year.

The fact that both semi-finals were again played the same day—Mayo beat Cavan by 2-4 to 0-8 gave people a great chance to assess the merits of the respective teams, and quite obviously, they liked Kerry, a lot more than they did Mayo, despite the rather fortunate circumstances of Kerry’s victory.

Kerry announced a number of changes for the final, the most significant being the placing of newcomer .Johnny Walsh at midfield in partnership with Bob Stack (Con Brosnan, who had operated on the forty against Mayo, was now in the left corner). Miko Doyle was back in his old forty yards position and Con Geaney had been doing more than enough to keep his place at right full-forward.

The All-Ireland junior semi-final between Kerry and Roscommon was played as a curtain-raiser and during the closing stages of this game a heavy downpour swept the pitch. Another heavy downpour after the game forced the senior teams to stay in the stand until conditions had improved.

When the game did get under way, it was Mayo who forced theearly pace. Gourd! pointed a free, Moclair followed with another point from play, and Munnelly made it 0-3 to nil~—all within the space of five minutes.

However, Kerry drew level in the 11th minute when Miko Doyledrove a pile-driver to the net. ConBrosnan had forced a fifty andPaddy Whitty’s kick landed in the goalmouth; Doyle secured andthough in a cluster of players he gave goalkeeper Burke no chancewith a great left-footed shot.

The next score did not come until the 19th minute and it belonged toKerry. Paul Russell sent a long ball to J. J. Landers and when ackledhe laid off to his brother Tim, who smartly pointed.

Mayo fought hack to equalise, through Moclair, and then, after they had hit the side netting, they rocked Kerry with a goal. Munnelly crossed in front of the posts and the inrushing Courell timed his effort beautifully to punch to the net.

This was a great boost for Mayo and though Kerry tried hard to re-duce their arrears—goalkeeper Burke did well to punch away twoshots by J. J. Landers—the Connacht side deservedly led, by 1-4 to1-1 at half-time.

A surprise result looked very definitely on the cards, but withinseconds of the re-start the picture had changed. Kerry swept forwardfrom the throw-in and Gannon cleared to the sideline. Paul Russellgot the touch throw and drove the ball into the goalmouth where TimLanders pounced on it and sent a mighty drive to the hack of the net.

The kick-out was won by Miko Doyle and he landed the balll backin the Mayo goalmouth; Con Brosnan seized his opportunity and cleverly punch~d to the net. Two goals in the first minute. But no! The referee went in to consult with his umpires and Brosnan’s goal was disallowed.

Still the initiative had been very definitely taken from Mayo, and by the end of the third quarter Kerry had gone five points ahead. Three of the points, by .Jackie Ryan, came. off frees to Tim Landers, and the other two were scored by Con Brosnan and Miko Doyle.

Yet Kerry’s best movement during this period yielded nothing. Theball was moved in brilliant style from jack Walsh, to .J. J• Landers,to Miko Doyle, to Bob Stack, to Con Brosnan, but the Moyvaneman’s parting shot was splendidly saved by ‘keeper Burke.

Subsequently, Brosnan was foiled by the crossbar; then Landers sent wide Irons point-blank range, and Brosnan saw another shot go inches wide. At the other end, full-back Joe Barrett saved the Kerrynet at the expense of a’ fifty.

Kerry were playing dazzling football and looked in no danger coming to the closing minutes. But there was still a strong ‘kick’ left in Mayo,and they put themselves right back in contention when Forde drove to the net.

There was still four minutes left, and the crowd really came to lifeas Mayo surged forward in search of further scores. They wereawarded two frees, the second from only about thirty yards’ range, but Tim Landers . . . the outstanding player of the thirty in the All-Ireland final against Mayo. His switch with Jackie Ryan wasdecisive.

Further Mayo attempts were frustrated by good defensive work, and, in fact, it was Kerry who had the last say, .Jackie Ryan pointing after Tim Landers had been fouled in front of the Mayo posts.

Excited Kerry supporters raced onto the pitch when they thought that the final whistle had sounded, but, in fact, the whistle had onlygone for a free. The pitch was soon cleared, however, and shortly afterwards it was really all over. The four in a row had become a reality!

It was generally agreed that the changing of places between JackieRyan and Tim Landers was the main reason for Kerry’s second-half transformation. Landers rose to great heights and was unquestionably the outstanding player of the thirty.

Wrote J. N.S. in The Irish Press:“We saw the real Kerry after the change of ends—a Kerry bewildering in their combination, perplexing in their anticipation and dynamic in bursting through the gaps.”

Wrote Carbery in the~ Cork Weekly Examiner: “In the second half, Landers Ltd. started the bally-hoo. The tall slim boy gave the ball to Tim and then this l0-~ stone boy who distinguished himself in America opened out. Did I ever see the like? Elusive as an eel, hopping like a rubber ball, quick to strike as a serpent in attack, he made bohereens through the Mayo defence. Kerry remain the peerless group of Gaelic footballers.”

Of course, the five in a row didn’t come. Kerry duly won out the 1933Munster championship, after returning from another U.S. tour, but they were sensationally beaten by Cavan in the All-Ireland semi-finalat Breffni Park, before an attendance of 17,111. Joe Barrett was an absentee for this game and Kerry made a number of positional changes, but they were happy enough to lead by 0-2 to 0-1 at half-time. They went three points clear in the second half, but Cavan pulled them back to level terms and then scored the match winning goal through McGovern. Two minutes from the end, Bill Landers got a chance of equalising for Kerry, but his grounder went inches wide.

It is interesting to note that Kerry later met Cavan in the Cardinal MacRory Cup at Croke Park and won by 2-7 to 0-6.

The men who fashioned Kerry’s 1932 triumph were: Danno Keeffe (Strand Street); Dee O’Connor (Killarney), Joe Barrett (Rock Street), Capt.; Jack Walsh (Craughdarrig); Paul Russell (Killarney), Joe O’Sullivan (Dingle), Paddy Whitty Boherbee); Johnny Walsh (Ballylongford), Bob Stack (Ballybunion); Miko Doyle (Rock Street); J. J. Landers (Rock Street), Tim Landers (Rock Street); Con Geaney (Fines), Jackie Ryan (Rock Street),Con Brosnan (Moyvane). Sub.: Bill Landers for Con Geaney (injured).

Mayo: T. Burke; .J. Gannon, P. Quinn, P. Kelly; T. Tunney, J.O’Malley, G. Ormsby; M. Mulderrig, M. Ormsby; P. Munnelly, T.J. Hanley, P. Flannelly; G. Courell, P. Moclair, J. Forde.


Have You Seen Our Kerry Brass