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2014 Press Releases

Kerry ties to UCC have always been strong

5 Sep 2014
(Article reproduced from 29 August 2014 with permission of and thanks to Mark Woods/Evening Echo)

Kerry will play Donegal in this year's All-Ireland Football Final on 21 September, but did you know of the UCC links to the Kerry team? A recent Evening Echo article on the semi-final against Mayo reveals all.

(Article reproduced from 29 August 2014 with permission of and thanks to Mark Woods/Evening Echo)

UCC'S long-established links with Kerry football which date back almost 100 years have strong connections with tomorrow evening's All-Ireland semi-final replay against Mayo at the Gaelic Grounds at 5pm.

From goalkeeper Brian Kelly, who plays for the Legion club in Killarney, through to full-forward Paul Geaney from Dingle, several of the current Green and Gold crew wore the famous skull and crossbones during their time on Leeside.

In all, eight of the starting 15 who rescued Kerry's season by coming back from the brink to force a replay courtesy of James O'Donoghue's cracking goal played for College in both the Sigerson Cup and the Cork county SFC.

Helping offer protection to Kelly in the full-back lie were Rathmore's Paul Murphy and Shane Enright from Tarbert with Murphy having the satisfaction of contributing a point to Kerry's total of 1-16.

Peter Crowley, who plays for Laune Rangers in Killorglin, caught the eye at left half-back and also got forward to kick an important point, which started Kerry¹s fight-back against 14-man Mayo.

The entire half-forward line of Donnchadh Walsh, Johnny Buckley and Stephen O¹Brien played with College and the trio also added to Kerry's tally.

Walsh contributed an important couple of points with O¹Brien finding the range from play and Buckley converting a free.

And, of course, masterminding the whole process was manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice, who was part of the famous class of 1999 in a team which defeated Nemo Rangers by 1-11 to 1-8 in the county final.

That was a star-studded side featuring the likes of Paul Galvin, Billy Sheehan, Ian Twiss and full-back Sean Mac an tSithigh, the well-known broadcast journalist with Nuacht RTE and TG4 and no slouch on the golf course either.

Yet, the College team of 2011 will probably go down as one of the finest boasting Crowley, Buckley, O¹Brien, Geaney and another panellist Daithi Casey who combined to deny Castlehaven in a gripping decider, the students winning by 1-12 to 0-10.

Other players from Kerry included defender Matthew Galvin and forwards Mike Griffen and JB Spillane as well as substitutes Jamie O¹Sullivan and Gavan O¹Grady.

The early 1970s was another golden era for UCC football as they contested three county finals on the trot, losing to Carbery in '71 and Nemo in ¹72 before eventually tasting success in '73 with a 3-8 to 1-10 victory over Carbery.

People like Dr Dave Geaney, Brendan Lynch and Dan Kavanagh are highly regarded in the Kingdom, a trio who made lasting contributions to College football as well.

During their long and successful innings in the Sigerson, UCC have collected the cup on 21 occasions to lie just one behind second-placed NUI Galway with UCD well out in front on 32 titles.

The 2014 version also ended with a UCC triumph in Belfast with a team which included Kelly between the posts and captained by Geaney.

The pair made the All Star team at the conclusion, where they were joined by fellow county men, full-back David Culhane, left corner-back Fergal McNamara and left corner-forward Conor Cox.

Geaney became the 11th Kerryman to lift the Sigerson, following in the footsteps of Adrian Greaney in 2011, when he missed the final because of a broken leg suffered in the semi-final, and one of the greatest of them all, the late Moss Keane, who led the side to victory in 1970.

The 1988 and 1994 teams also brought home the Sigerson, captained by John Keane and Niall Savage respectively and including two of the genuine greats of the game, Seamus Moynihan and Maurice Fitzgerald.

Last season, Tomás Ó Sé, a legend with five All-Irelands and the same number of All-Stars, took charge of UCC's Freshers team and led them to league glory. Years before, his late uncle Paidí oversaw a Sigerson campaign.

And others have given something back, as well, like O'Brien and Greaney acting as Fresher selectors on both A and B teams to underline their commitment to College.

Of course, there are many detractors to UCC's participation in the county championships in both football and hurling. Yet, people forget College went 32 years without a football title after their 1928 success.

College will cite players from Kerry in football and Tipperary and Kilkenny in hurling help raise standards, which benefits everyone.

The 2015 Sigerson will be hosted by UCC, who will have Billy Morgan at the helm once more and you can bet the talented Kerry minor team, which is through to the All-Ireland final, will have a big influence on the Freshers team.

The connection remains as strong as ever!

UCC's Kerry Sigerson Cup captains:

  • 2014 Paul Geaney
  • 2011 Adrian Greaney
  • 1994 Niall Savage
  • 1988 John Keane
  • 1970 Moss Keane
  • 1969 Christy O'Sullivan
  • 1966 Pat Moynihan
  • 1953 Paudie Sheehy
  • 1927 Peter Coughlan
  • 1925 Michael Murphy
  • 1916 Michael Charles Troy 

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

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