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.
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