A Classic of All Ireland Memories as Dublin beat Kerry for the first time since 1934 in a fantastic contest
A nice treat tonight and one of the greatest All Ireland Memories of all time. Dublin finally getting an All Ireland Football win over their rivals Kerry for the first time since 1934. And here is the entire game with all the bells and whistles.
In 1975, Kerry came to Croke Park with a new breed of footballer. Managed by Mick O’Dwyer, a highly fit, confident young team, introducing the likes of Pat Spillane, Paidí Ó Sé, Denis Moran and Mikey Sheehy. And they swaggered into the All-Ireland final and beat Dublin, who were the reigning champions.
The win heralded the dawn of a new era for Kerry football and for the GAA as a whole. After the game many believed that the then Dublin team was finished. But in 1976 Dublin came back with a bang and defeated Kerry in the All-Ireland final, fully restoring the rivalry into a living, breathing modern thing.
In an interview with GAA.ie back in 2012, Pat Spillane said the following: “In 1976, we were beaten and deservedly so. We had enjoyed life after 1975 and we weren’t at the same pitch.”
Clearly something had gone amiss with the Kerry young guns, because Dublin were far too good for them in 1976. Dublin had 11 of the team from 1975 back in place for the final a year later, but the key change was that their entire half-back line was new.
Tommy Drumm, Pat O’Neill and Kevin Moran provided a blend of defensive solidity and attacking intent. And that increased speed of Dublin stunned a Kerry team that had probably rested on the laurels of 12 months earlier.
Goals from Heffo’s Army Stun the Kingdom
Three Dublin goals knocked the stuffing out of Kerry. Brian Mullins, John McCarthy and Jimmy Keaveney all nailing the target. One of the most iconic images from the game was when Kevin Moran burst on top of the Kerry goal after 45 seconds, only to blast the ball inches wide.
Dublin were fully deserving of their win. And apart the significance of it in terms of neutralising the young Kerry side at the time, it was highly symbolic in the long-term context of the Dublin-Kerry rivalry.
For Kevin Heffernan, who had suffered against Kerry his entire playing career, this was redemption. The match report in the Irish Times memorably recorded “Old men and their wives, their sons and daughters and grandchildren were all proudly wearing their tribal emblems. ‘The Jacks are Back’ the little chisellers were shouting…”
P Cullen, G O’Driscoll, S Doherty, R Kelleher, T Drumm, K Moran, P O’Neill, B Mullins, B Brogan, A O’Toole, A Hanahoe (c), D Hickey, B Doyle, J Keaveney, J McCarthy. Subs: F Ryder for A Hanahoe; P Gogarty for B Doyle.
P O’Mahony, G O’Keeffe, J O’Keeffe, J Deenihan, P Ó Sé, T Kennelly, G Power, P Lynch, P McCarthy, D ‘Ogie’ Moran, M Sheehy, M O’Sullivan, B Lynch, J Egan, P Spillane. Sub: C Nelligan for P O’Mahony, S Walsh for P McCarthy; G O’Driscoll for M O’Sullivan.