Kerry May Be Down But There’s A Great Future For Hurling In The County

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Mike O’Halloran reflects on Kerry’s loss of Division 1B status and says the hurlers can hold their heads high as great ambassadors for the county…

Players like Jack Goulding show there’s a great future for hurling in Kerry. File Photo

We left Thomond Park on Saturday evening on a high after witnessing Munster demolish Toulouse in the final minutes with an ex Leinster man Andrew Conway and ex Cork hurler Darren Sweetnam scored tries for Munster.

We rushed to the car to tune into a hurling game played in the heart of Leinster .

From the Ennis road til the turn off for Moyvane on the Listowel Tarbert road we followed the fortunes of the Kerry hurlers.

When we joined the commentary provided by Radio Kerry and two Laois men who called the game with great passion, their love for hurling wafting over the airwaves like the aroma of a tasty soup on a winters day.

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Kerry were nine points down when we joined the commentary, says Deirdre to me “they are up against it”. She had hardly finished the sentence when the margin was down to six.

I reminded her of the Sunday a few weeks ago when Kerry were in the very same situation and came back to win, “they are bound to get a goal or two” says I, and so they did.

By the time we got to the turn off for Moyvane a one handed puck had hit the post and denied Kerry a further goal that would have kept them in Division 1B.

The passion and never say die attitude of this group of players shone through the glow of the car radio, as we passed through Foynes Glin and Tarbert, the hurlers clawed their way back to go ahead, to draw to go behind, draw and eventually lose.

The radio commentary was magic but with all its magic I’m sure it couldn’t possibly convey to us the heartbreak felt by the players and their families at the sound of the final whistle.

This group of players will take no comfort from any pundit or analyst trotting out the reasons for the loss this evening or for the loss last Sunday that put them in this position.

But let me say, this team will spend the minimum time in Division 2A, they will be straight up again at the end of next season as winners of the division.

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The Kerry hurlers were brilliant during their stint in Division 1B and proved great sports ambassadors for The Kingdom of Kerry, they brought great pride and honour to their families their villages and themselves.

Were it not for a few missed scoring opportunities and injuries to key players like The O’Learys, Michael Boyle, Paud Costello, Rory Horgan, John Griffin and the retirement of the great John Egan Kerry would still be dining at the top table of hurling.

The commentators said during the game “it would be a disaster for Laois if they are relegated”. I can only presume that they would contend that the same would apply to Kerry.

It is not a disaster, it’s a long road that has no turning, there is a great future for hurling in Kerry.

If the passion shown tonight in the heat of battle is carried on for the next few years by the up and coming stars like, Jordan Conway, Tomas O’Connor, Jack Goulding, Johnny Buckely and Paudie O’Connor. The pain inflicted by bitter defeat is often followed by the sweet taste of victory. Heads up boys.

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