Kerry Out For 2012

 Kerry’s defeat by Donegal last Sunday week in the quarter final of the All-Ireland championship brought some home truths and a sense of proportion to those of us who are either residents or natives of the “Kingdom”. We have long since learned that some of the lines from a popular story that we read one time when living in Kerry about an old man who was too feeble to travel to Croke Park still had his faith in the Kerry team who were playing there. “To him”  so the story went.  “They were true sons of the Kingdom, masters of the game, champions always”. He came to listen to the broadcast of the game on the radio in a neighbour’s house but as he was very deaf he was unable to follow the broadcast, he thought that from the clapping and cheering of all the neighbours whenever Kerry got a score that the team had won the match and went home satisfied that was so. Nobody there had the heart to tell him that Kerry had lost and they knew that his sight was also poor and that he would be unable to read the result in the Irish press or the county newspapers “The Kerryman” and “The Kerry Champion” the following week. This was of course long before “Kerry’s Eye” or “The Kingdom” newspapers ever appeared. People in the neighbourhood were warned never to reveal to him that Kerry had been defeated and so he went on believing that they were still the champions until he became senile the following year and lost all interest in the game. There is no doubt that there are still hundreds, maybe even thousands of people living in Kerry who can never accept that better teams from other counties can sometimes arise even occasionally in Gaelic football. Of course the story and history of this code in “The Kingdom” is as much part and parcel of the Kerry psyche as the lore of its saints and leprechauns and even its fighters for freedom. As they say in Kerry, football is a dúchas, or “’tis in the blood”. When we were young lads in rural Kerry our most cherished ambition was to become footballers and even to get picked up for a local team was considered a proud achievement. But to be chosen to play in the Kerry team in those days was surely the ultimate honour for any individual. Members of the Kerry team then were looked upon as demigods and treated with the respect due to such a high station, although GAA iconic players such as late John Joe Sheehy and late Con Brosnan would probably rather to be remembered as representatives of the ordinary people of Kerry rather than the super footballers that they were. In our younger days of course we firmly believed that Kerry were the real kingpins of football and were naturally unbeatable and in those times the Kerry teams gave us plenty reason for believing this. But as time went on and some of us worked in other Irish counties and abroad when we came to realise that other counties as well as the Irish abroad also have their own traditions and their heroes in the realm of Gaelic football we began to lose some of our earlier youthful fervour for Kerry and to appreciate the talents in other great football counties that had arisen such as in Tyrone, Offaly and others who were very seldom heard of in our early days.

Since coming to live in West Limerick several years ago and having made many friends here my sympathy would tend to be with the Limerick football team even when they might be playing against Kerry and regarded as the underdogs. On the other hand it would be great to see the Kerry hurlers reaching the point where they could successfully compete with Limerick, Clare, Offaly or others of the less prominent counties. While there is little doubt that Kerry are likely to remain a leading football county in spite of the recent setbacks and those of the last few years which must have been very disappointing particularly for Manager Jack O’Connor and Colm Cooper who has been captain of the team during the past two years, it is now doubtful if the Gooch will get the opportunity to lift the Sam Maguire Cup at some future stage but then who can predict the future.

Earlier this year many people noticed flaws in the Kerry team, not alone against Cork who beat them in the Munster final but also against Tipperary and Westmeath. In fact Kerry was very fortunate to survive the Mullingar game by such a narrow margin. It was no great surprise then to see them beaten by Donegal, a comparatively younger and fresher side, who were never likely to lose the lead that they gained over Kerry in the first half of the game.

So no Kerry team in this year’s All-Ireland, some of the old loyalties sometimes spring up in those of us who are natives of the “Kingdom” and once again our memories take us back to the time when we listened to the broadcast of a match on the old battery radio at my cousin Pa Sheehy’s house in Dromada when Kerry were playing in an All-Ireland final and other times when we were actually in Croke Park itself for the big day.

That great sports journalist of other days, late Padraig Foley, who was a native of West Kerry, once wrote in “The Kerryman” that an All-Ireland final without Kerry was like Hamlet without the ghost. Hopefully some of us are now mature enough to realise that a football game, even an All-Ireland final, can still be very interesting whoever the contestants might be. Our own extended family come from so many different backgrounds that there is sure to be a clash of loyalties in various sports with some family members coming from Dublin, Kildare, Kerry and Yorkshire and some of our family members also born in England. Kerry is still however an important part of many of our lives because of the fact that our roots are there as well as so many of our relatives and friends.

Whether the Kerry football team will again recover within the next few years is anybody’s guess but there certainly remains a lot to be done if the county is to regain its former glory. However the minor team has done fairly well this year and there lies the hope for the future.

 Late Mary Lyons

The death occurred recently of Mary Lyons (nee Sheahan) of Dromreask. Deceased, who was in her late nineties, was a resident of Lystol Lodge Nursing Home for the past number of years where she had been well cared for.

Mary was a member of a widely known and highly regarded family and the mother of very talented sons and daughters. Donie is a well known traditional musician and All-Ireland champion singer and also won a world song contest on one occasion. Henry has been a lecturer and official at the IT College in Tralee for many years. Eileen has been a teacher in Tarbert Comprehensive school and Maureen was a Fianna Fáil member of Limerick County Council for many years.

The removal from Lyons’ Funeral Home, Derry, Listowel and to Glin Parish Church was attended by a vast number of people who came to pay their respects and sympathise with the family. The Requiem Mass on the following day and the funeral in the afternoon were also well attended. Sympathy is extended to her sons, daughters, grandchildren, sons-in-law, daughters-in law, nephews, nieces and other relatives. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

 Death of Willie Shine

The death occurred during the weekend of William Shine of Killeery, Glin. His unexpected passing was deeply regretted by his family members, relatives, friends and neighbours.

Willie was originally a native of Gortnagross, Athea before he came to live in Glin area after he was married to a local girl. During their early married years Willie and his wife worked in England for some time before they returned home again to settle in Glin area. Sympathy is extended to Willie’s family and his other relatives. May his soul rest in peace.