Paul Galvin calls time on Kerry intercounty career

News confirmed after Kingdom lose opening league encounter to 14-man Dublin

Dublin 2-8 Kerry 1-10: Dublin's whip hand over Kerry continues, at least for now, but notable though the result was, the most newsworthy aspect of the night was the retirement from intercounty football of Kerry's Paul Galvin.

When it was announced before the game that Kerry had one change in the subs with Galvin not togging out, few thought any more of it. But Eamonn Fitzmaurice confirmed afterwards that Galvin had decided to call it a day – citing his living in Dublin and inability to give the required commitment – and bringing to an end one of the most colourful football careers of recent times.

A four-time All-Ireland winner and three times named on the football All Stars, Galvin released a statement on his website to explain his decision to call time on a career that included its share of controversy.

It read: "I would like to sincerely thank the Kerry County Board and Kerry Group for their support over the years, the 4 managers I played under for placing their faith in me, my family, and of course, the proud Kerry supporters who demanded our best at all times. There were days when you played with us too.


“More importantly I want to thank all my team-mates for your heart and friendship over the years. Standing my ground with you in the Kerry jersey was my privilege. I learned more from you than anyone and I am grateful for the opportunity I got to play with some of the best players to ever play the game.

“Having discussed it with the management during the week we felt it best to announce it after tonights game.

“Finally I want to thank Eamon and wish him, the management team and my brothers on the Kerry team the very best luck for 2014.

“I am proud to say I won All Irelands for Kerry and I am satisfied that I gave the cause everything I had in me.”

It means another of Kerry’s All-Ireland winners melts back into society, leaving only five of the team that started the 2009 final still available to them. Times are changing, teams are changing.

The cast list here was entirely different from last September’s All-Ireland semi-final, with Kerry only starting seven of the team that so rattled Dublin and the champions going lower again and starting only four.

An entertaining night’s fare ended with Jim Gavin’s side a man down but a point up, leaving Kerry to head back south wondering quite how they’d left the points behind them. Despite playing with 14 men for most of the second half Dublin scored five of the last six points to grind out the victory.

For all the youth on show however, Dublin's most notable inclusion was 32-year-old Alan Brogan – his first appearance since the 2012 All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo. The former Footballer of the Year played like he'd missed it, buzzing around from the off in a Dublin forward line that looked a little sluggish otherwise.

They looked likely to pay for their initial timidity when Kerry contrived to open up a five-point lead inside the opening 20 minutes. Dublin's only score in this period was a Kevin McManamon goal, the result of Cormac Costello's best contribution of the night. The young Dublin corner forward left Paul Murphy for dust before drawing Shane Enright and offloading to McManamon who couldn't have had an easier job in tapping home.

It was a lone bright spot for Dublin though, as the Kerry full forward line did endless damage at the other end of the pitch. James O'Donoghue was the best player on show in that opening period, sniping the game's first point and its best goal. The green flag came 18 minutes in, when he skinned Michael Fitzsimons and planted an emphatic finish above Stephen Cluxton's head and in off the underside of the black spot.

The goal put Kerry 1-5 to 1-0 ahead and good value for it they were too. O’Donoghue had the chance to put serious open country between the sides soon after but went for a crafted finish looking for the top corner when something lower and more powerful would surely have paid greater dividends.

Dublin were galvanised and made Kerry pay for it within minutes. After McManamon and Shane Carthy knock over a couple of quick points, Eoghan O'Gara was left in far too much space in front of Hill 16 on the half hour. His finish was clinical where O'Donoghue's hadn't been and just like that, Dublin found themselves a point ahead despite not really having found their mojo.

They went about changing that post haste. Though only five minutes remained until half-time, Dublin came close to adding another two goals. First the dangerous McManamon drew a fantastic save out of Brendan Kealy, then O'Gara slid a glorious chance just past the left-hand post. When Kerry responded with points from Barry John Keane (a free) and another fine score from O'Donoghue, it meant the visitors went to the break with a 1-7 to 2-3 lead.

When O’Donoghue and Stephen O’Brien pushed that lead out to three soon after the restart, Kerry looked set fair. When Dublin full back Seán George saw the line soon after for an off-the-ball incident that only the umpires saw, that impression was only underlined. Yet even with the extra man, Kerry only added another point in the remaining half hour. When they hold the X-ray of this defeat up the light, that inability to build a total will be the darkest shadow.

Dublin stuck in and showed plenty of stomach to wriggle their way to a result. Michael Darragh Macauley came on to add a bit of vim to the midfield, Paul Mannion did likewise up front. The Kerry defence started to get harried into conceding frees, with Mannion, Costello and Carthy cashing in. When Mannion pointed his second seven minutes from time, it put the teams level and it was fairly obvious that next score would win.

Dublin made sure it was theirs. Ciarán Kilkenny, who’d had an otherwise quiet enough evening, played a peach of a crossfield pass to find the rampaging Jack McCaffrey in 40 yards of space. McCaffrey opened the throttle and headed straight for goal, eventually settling for a fisted point to send Dublin into a lead they held onto with relative comfort in the end.

In tonight's other Division One clash, Derry fought back from seven points down in the second half to claim a draw against Tyrone at Celtic Park, with Mark Lynch's late point seeing the game ending Derry 1-15 to Tyrone's 2-12 .

DUBLIN: S Cluxton; J Cooper, S George, M Fitzsimons; E Lowndes, C O'Sullivan, P McMahon; D O'Mahony, S Carthy (0-2, 0-1 free); C Kilkenny, B Cullen, C Reddin; K McManamon (1-1), E O'Gara (1-1, 0-1 free), C Costello (0-1). Subs: MD Macauley for O'Mahony (46 mins); J McCaffrey (0-1) for Reddin (50 mins); P Mannion (0-2) for McManamon (54 mins); D Byrne for O'Gara (56 mins); K Nolan for Carthy (65 mins); D Nelson for Cooper (68 mins).

KERRY: B Kealy; P Murphy, M Griffin, S Enright; P Crowley, B McGuire, J Sherwood; A Maher, D Moran (0-1); J Lyne, M Geaney, D Walsh; BJ Keane (0-4, 0-3 frees), J O'Donoghue (1-3), S O'Brien (0-2). Subs: A O'Mahony for M Geaney (48 mins); C Cox for Lyne (54 mins); D Culhane for Sherwood (59 mins); P Geaney for Walsh (62 mins); P Kilkenny for Murphy (68 mins); A Fitzgerald for Crowley (69 mins).

Referee: D Coldrick (Meath)

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin is a sports writer with The Irish Times