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Sunday 17 December 2017

'Extraordinary' parallels between record-breakers

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice. Pic: Sportsfile
Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice. Pic: Sportsfile

Éamonn Fitzmaurice's team will be the snarling guard dogs of a 34-game Kerry record but the team that set it "would have been very famous in their own right," according to local journalist, Sylvester Hennessy.

Hennessy, of Kerry's Eye and the award-winning Terrace Talk radio programme, also notes that "the corollary between the two teams is quite extraordinary."

Kerry's stint between October 14th 1928 and March 19th 1933 took in 15 unbeaten Championship matches and 19 loss-less League games.

Dublin haven't clocked a loss in 14 Championship and 19 League matches.

Almost bizarrely though is that Saturday's match in Tralee falls exactly 84 years on the day that Kerry's run was ended by Meath in Navan on March 19th, 1933.

Dublin’s Stephen Cluxton. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Dublin’s Stephen Cluxton. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

"And the fact that they end up back in Tralee trying to break the record is extraordinary," Hennessy points out.

"And the fact that the last time they were beaten was in Kerry - in Killarney - makes it even more extraordinary.

"It's just a mad, mad situation. It really is."

Included amongst that Kerry team was Dan O'Keeffe, goalkeeper on the GAA's football Team of the Millennium and who, until Stephen Cluxton's emergence, was universally regarded as the greatest goalie of all time.

They also became the first Kerry team - and just the second side ever - to win four All-Ireland titles in a row when they beat Mayo in the 1932 All-Ireland final.

A notable omission from the Kerry team that day was Éamon Fitzgerald who, instead, was representing Ireland in Los Angeles at the Olympic Games.

For the record, he competed in what was then known as 'the Hop, Step and Jump,' and qualified for the final.

That Kerry team also frequently toured America, packing crowds of around 40,000 into venues like Yankee Stadium or Comiskey Park in Boston.

Indeed, Kerry county board purchased Austin Stack Park, the venue for Saturday's clash out of the proceeds for then the princely sum of £800.

"I think a lot of people in Kerry now would readily acknowledge that this time around, there's no question," Hennesy adds.

"This is a very, very good Dublin team, maybe the best that they've ever had - and maybe the greatest ever."

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