Captain's view: Offaly 1982

 

Richie Connor (Offaly v Kerry, 1982)

Captain of the team that broke through in Leinster in 1980 and went on to reach two All-Ireland finals in the following years, including the famous 1982 match when Connor's team deprived Kerry of a fifth-in-a-row All-Ireland title with a late goal from Seamus Darby.

"The Leinster title in 1980 was special to me because I'd started playing just after the 1971-72 team had broken up and I became accustomed to watching Dublin winning Leinster titles despite Offaly putting in a huge effort, especially after Eugene McGee took us over in 1976.

"The All-Ireland is a bigger stage and in 1981, we were caught up in the hype of the occasion, rather than the match. Although Walsh Island is almost on the Kildare border, we headed into Tullamore for Mass and a team-meeting before getting a train and it was all a bit unreal.

"A year later, in '82, we travelled up in cars and met in Powers Hotel in Dublin. It was like the preparation for a League match and there was an underlying objective that we had a serious job to do. There was much greater purpose in the side and we left the hype by the wayside. We were able to separate the rubbish from reality and realise that we would be hit hard from the start and that 60,000 people would be looking.

"In the build-up, I remember looking at my diary, putting myself down for the 15p per mile, and noticing that we had met 17 nights out of one three-week period. There was a lot of talk and so much footage of the Kerry team that every player could be really assessed in detail.

"I saw the match on TnaG a couple of months back and thought that I remembered very little of it. It's unfortunate that as these programmes are available, they become our memory and good play which isn't captured on camera gets forgotten.

"When it was over, we went back to the dressingroom where there was loads of back-slapping. At a stage when you'd like to go off with wives and friends and keep the team group together, we had to go out to Montrose instead because there was a programme that was going out that night and RTE were in control.

"They had us in the studio at 6.30 and the programme was done in 15-minute pieces with a break in between which meant it took two around hours. Then we left and remember - apart from a quick hospitality glass in RTE - we had had no drink by then.

"Instead we were starving. Most of us hadn't eaten since breakfast because you'd be too nervous to eat many of the sandwiches served before the match. By the time we had eaten and headed to our hotel in a fairly sober state, the supporters had drunk the place dry and there was no draught left.

"When you've won an All-Ireland, it doesn't take much to please a fella but I think the after-match arrangements could have been better."

Take two: All-Ireland final 1932

Kerry - 27, Mayo

Croke Park, 25th September 1932.

THE only previous meeting of the counties in an All-Ireland final was also significant for being the conclusion of Kerry's first four-in-a-row success, emulating the famous Wexford team of 1915-18.

They were up against Mayo's first great team which was to go on to win the county's first All-Ireland four years later and also take an extraordinary grip on the NFL, winning six titles in the 1930s.

Heavy rain delayed the throw-in and Kerry were slow to get going and trailed by three points at half-time, 1-1 to 1-4 with Paul Russell and Gerald Courell swapping goals. The champions moved up a gear or two after the interval and substitute wing forward Bill Landers scored a goal almost immediately on the resumption.

Landers had returned home from the US before the season started and in the final joined his two brothers, Tim and John Joe, left wing and corner forward respectively on the team.

One American absentee that couldn't be present was Eamonn Fitzgerald who was representing Ireland in the Los Angeles Olympics in the triple jump, an event in which he nearly secured a medal but eventually came fourth.

Mayo managed only one further score - a late goal - over the remainder of the match and went down by three points.

Clubcall: Most successful

Kerry: Austin Stacks, Tralee - Rock Street GAA Club was founded in 1917 but the club which was based in the northern part of Tralee town took the name of Austin Stacks after the death of the patriot in 1929. A year previously the club had won its first county senior football title and added four more by 1936. That was the glorious era of the Landers brothers, Joe Barrett, Jackie Ryan and Miko Doyle, all of whom won 21 All-Ireland senior medals between them. But when that chapter closed the next one didn't open until the glorious chapter for Kerry in the 1970s when the club won four titles between 1973 and 1979. Then it was the turn of Mikey Sheehy, John O'Keeffe and Ger Power to win 23 AllIreland medals between them. The club equalled the record number of 10 county titles in 1986 and surpassed it in 1994.

Founded: 1917. Number of senior titles: 11. Current players on senior panel: Pa Laide and William Kirby. Captains of All-Ireland winning teams: Joe Barrett 1929 and 1932. Miko Doyle 1937 and Ger Power 1980. Parish base: Tralee - Rock Street area. Population of catchment area: 20,000 (Four clubs in the town). Club members: 350.

Mayo: Ballina Stephenites - Founded in 1886, Mayo's second eldest but most successful club won its first county senior title just three years later. Between 1904 and 1916 they won 13 titles in a row, a statistic embellished by three Croke cups, the equivalent of today's All-Ireland club championships between 1907 and 1909. Between 1923 and 1929 they sustained the momentum winning seven county titles in a row and had added three more by 1938. When Mayo won their first All-Ireland senior title two years earlier the club supplied George Ormsby, Jackie Carney, Paddy Mocklear and Gerard Corull to the side. Three more club titles arrived in the 1940s in the era of Sean Wynne, Paddy Jordan, Tom Acton and Sean and Mick Mulderrig, all of whom played on the successful Mayo teams of 1950 and 51. Only four county titles have followed, however, their last win coming in 1987.

Founded: 1886. Number of senior titles: 33. Current players on senior panel: Liam McHale, Brian Heffernan and David Brady. Captains of All-Ireland winning teams: None. Parish base: Ballina. Population of catchment area: 10,000. Club members: 500.