Killian Young relishing home comfort as Dublin come calling
Kerry stalwart keen for Kingdom to register an overdue win over Dublin in Tralee
Kerry’s Killian Young in action against Dublin’s Shane Carty in the last league or championship game Dublin lost – in Killarney in March 2015. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
“I did, or did I?” asks Killian Young, when reminded he played on the Kerry team that last defeated Dublin in either the league or championship, now 33 games ago, or two years and 15 days to be exact.
It’s been a while alright, so no wonder his memory is a little vague; and with that uncanny sense of fate and destiny the GAA seems to do best, Kerry play Dublin this Saturday looking to deny them a share of football’s record unbeaten run of 34 games, which is held by the Kerry team of the early 1930s.
And of course with that, deny Dublin the chance of beating their record – at least anytime soon.
Young is a little clearer about what’s at stake on Saturday: it’s not all about denying Dublin a share of the record, but also keeping Kerry’s own league campaign on course for a potential final spot, with Cavan and Tyrone still to come in the remaining two rounds.
“I haven’t been monitoring the unbeaten record at all,” says Young, speaking ahead of Saturday’s night’s sell-out game in Tralee. “I don’t know the numbers. But of course we’ll be looking to win on the night, it’s something we want to do.
“We set out to win every game of course, and there’s home advantage too which is good and we’ll be hoping to use all of this to our advantage.
“In fairness, Dublin have been on a run and winning is a habit. That happens with teams as well. I suppose their confidence is up as well with that. Look, it’s hard to see it, it’s hard to predict these things, but hopefully we will be able to stop them Saturday night.
“And there is a lot of excitement. I’d say within the last three weeks people have been talking about it because of the frenzy with tickets and the attendance on the night. You normally have a build up in the league of about two or three days if anything at all.
“So this is unusual and out of the ordinary. But it shows the way the standard of the league is going ,and the excitement in the game itself has built around it. And for Tralee, it’s a massive boost for that town. Austin Stack Park is a nice compact stadium and it brings that more atmosphere as well. Something different to look at as well. There is a different type of feel to a Saturday night game as well, so I don’t see nothing wrong with that at all.”
Young’s memory of March 1st, 2015, meanwhile, may need a little jogging: Kerry hosted Dublin in Killarney, and Young replaced Paul Murphy after 34 minutes (after he was black-carded) and so played the entire second half of an increasingly tempestuous game which Kerry won, 0-15 to 1-10, referee Eddie Kinsella from Laois certainly having his hands full.
Both teams finished with 14 men, Kerry’s Jack Sherward black-carded in the final minute (at which stage they’d already used all their substitutes); then in injury time Dublin’s Michael Fitzsimons was shown a straight red card for his part in the minor melee which marred the closing moments.
Indeed Dublin finished with one red, five yellow, and two black cards – while Kerry had two yellow and two black. Kerry effectively won that game in that third quarter, outscoring Dublin seven points to one, with Bryan Sheehan’s placed-ball kicking particularly influential (he finished with 0-6).
Dublin, meanwhile, by beating Mayo in Croke Park last Saturday week, extended their unbeaten record in league and championship to 33 games; Kerry all-time unbeaten record in league and championships games, set back in the early 1930s, saw them 34 games unbeaten, including 19 in the league and 15 in the championship, until Cavan beat them in the 1933 All-Ireland semi-final, 1-5 to 0-5 (before going on to beat Galway in the final).
But Young is looking beyond the potentially record statistics of Saturday’s game: Kerry have their own run of games to think about.
“It’s been eventful, so far, in that we have won two and lost two and I suppose from the Monaghan and Mayo games that would be disappointing. But it’s about overall development for the league as well. We got some young blood in there and that is good for us. It’s just about nurturing them and giving them that game time and putting them into the deep end as such, is one way of putting it.
“Even the likes of myself, when I started with Kerry was probably 2006, my first league game was probable 2007, against Conor Mortimer, and he was on top form at that time, and you just need to kind of learn the ropes that way.
“There are only so many training sessions you can do. It’s great to get these guys in and get them involved while they are young and get that bit of experience for them. It’s worked well so far.
“But everybody is trying out different players and everybody is going to be trying out different techniques and you have to use the league for that and build on it. But I wouldn’t be concerned about everybody else. It’s important to stay focused ourselves and make sure our game is right for Saturday and take it from there.”