Anyone fearful for the future of Gaelic Football in Kerry would have their fears soothed if they’d seen what I saw here in Castleisland on a grand Monday evening just gone.
The game was played in a new U-16 category Regional League. The local Desmonds lads were being taken on in the own turf by the visitors and fellow River Maine-siders, Milltown-Castlemaine.
There were fine scores and heroic defending on both sides.
‘A couple of incidents caught my eye – albeit through a lens – where bravery was demanded on the spur-of-the-moment and delivered without a blink.’
There was a cute-as-foxes, ingrained, plan-of-action carried out with passion, pride of club and parish and with style. There wasn’t a foul blow or a hint of cynicism and referee, Ger Lynch facilitated a free-flowing game throughout.
I often feel that photographers are the worst in the world to ask about the trends in a game they would have attended and I’m no exception.
You’re there with one eye closed and the other focused on a framed and frantic fraction of the overall picture for the duration of the encounter.
A couple of incidents caught my eye – albeit through a lens – where bravery was demanded on the spur-of-the-moment and delivered without a blink. One in the first half concerned Desmonds flying forward, Tadhg Walsh on a searing run down the wing and he bent on damage on the Milltown-Castlemanie goal. His pile-driver was bravely smothered by corner-back, Trevor Lenihan and the danger averted.
Desmonds full-back, David Lynch performed a similar loyalty test in the second half with an expertly executed block from midfielder, Padraig O’Brien.
Their duel was one of the highlights of the second half. You’d see how their respective skills would have pitted them against each other as the game progressed – the cream rising – and all that.
O’Brien did get the better of Lynch on one fleeting occasion and scored one of the finest goals you’d see anywhere.
Desmonds manager, Mikie O’Connor was delighted with how his ‘boys’ performed on the night as they ran out 4-8 to 2-6 winners.
‘Their duel was one of the highlights of the second half. You’d see how their respective skills would have pitted them against each other as the game progressed – the cream rising – and all that.’
Wisely, he wouldn’t be drawn on individual performances on the night. However, he did mention defenders: Paul Walsh and Padraig O’Connell in glowing terms as they have only recently stepped up from U-14 level. He praised his just appointed captain, Ciaran Breen for the way he took on his new role and was pleased with the team spirit and attitude of the entire squad.
I’ve no reason to believe that the Milltown-Castlemaine team mentors wouldn’t feel the same way about the performance of their panel in the wake of this fine exhibition of under-age football. – John Reidy / The Maine Valley Post