Joe Brolly column
Ahead of the meeting of Tyrone and Kerry, this is what Joe Brolly had to say:
The problem with this Kerry team is that they have always failed when it has really been put up to them.
Pat Spillane is very keen to point out that in the numbers game, they have more All-Irelands than Tyrone. But this disguises the reality that deep down in their bones, Kerry folk have always had doubts about this group.
They are, of course, fine footballers and will retire with trophy cabinets sagging under the weight of gold. But at the very highest level, against serious opposition, they have always wilted.
The first hint that they were not on a par with the Golden Years crop came in 2003 when they collapsed entirely in the face of Tyrone’s furious indignation. “Sweet mother of Mikey Sheehy” they wailed in the Kingdom. “They’re tackling Darragh O’Se!”
As the game wore on and it became plain that this particular Tyrone team was not going to succumb to stage fright in the face of the green and gold jerseys, it was the Kerry men who gave up. It was a surrender that would have been unthinkable for O’Dwyer’s crew. For the record, Kerry scored a miserable six points and lost by seven.
In 2004, the Team of the Decade beat up a Conor Mortimer-inspired Mayo in the final, spraying champagne midway through the first half after Colm Cooper scored a delightful goal having soloed through untouched by human hand. Funny thing, I haven’t seen Colm scoring a delightful goal against Tyrone in Croke Park, or any sort of goal.
Which brings me to another subject that I have been reflecting upon anxiously over the last six months: Is Colm as great as I once- thought he was? The skills are of course peerless. He is magnificent when the Kingdom are beating up on Mayo or the old Cork team. But I am beginning to have my doubts.
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published on Thursday July 19. Buy your copy now in your local newsagent, or you can purchase the online version – for only 90p – by clicking here