Hurler on the Ditch

As they enjoy a weekend off from intercounty duty, I can get out of my train of thought how often the Kerry Hurlers are written off and ridiculed by people and more often than not by people that have absolutely zero clue of what is actually going on in the Kerry Hurling Camp or indeed know anything about Kerry Hurling full stop.

Being blessed to be born and bred in a club that plays both big ball and small ball I feel humbled and privileged to have played(badly when it comes to the small ball and many would argue not that much better when it comes to the bigger one) both and have seen them first hand at most levels.

While the powers that be conspire against our Hurlers and put obstacles in their way at every opportunity to stop them from getting to play in the Championship proper, this small close knit community of hurling lovers in the North Kerry area persevere. And thankfully Hurling is growing in the county with new clubs like Tralee Parnells now up and running.

The result they pulled off last weekend has put Kerry Hurling back in the limelight for all the right reasons again. Against all the odds and against one of the favourites for the tournament, having already defeated our boys in the National League final, they travelled to Mullingar and pulled off a famous victory to blow the whole Joe McDonagh Cup wide open.

This however was no fluke. Kerry have some damn good hurlers. As good as anything on offer at this level of competition or even at the level above it in some cases.

Of course I speak of Shane Conway. What a talent he is and we are lucky to have him here in Kerry because many other of the so called bigger counties would love to have him at their disposal. The rumours of pastuers greener surrounding the young man are understandably doing the round. It reminds me of the same stories that were doing the same rounds when Shane Brick was at the peak of his powers in the not too distant past. But Shane B stayed put and was proud to hurl for Kerry and I for one hope that Shane C won’t have his head turned either. I just hope we have an up and coming Shane D, Shane E, Shane F and G coming through the ranks because they are needed as well.

The Boyles of course are serious operators as is Danny Collins. Jack Goulding, Tomas Connor are serious young talents. Bryan Murphy and Beans at the back will make you earn every score.

Here is a further analysis. These Hurlers are damn good at the big ball as well. Lets take a look in more detail. James O’ Connor plays his football at Division 1 level with Na Gaeil and recently won a Premier Junior County Championship Football Medal, Sean “Beans” Weir plays his Football with St Senans and recently won a North Kerry Football Championship Medal as well as narrowly missing out on a Premier Junior County Championship Football Medal, Danny Collins was a Kerry Minor Footballer and won and All Ireland Intermediate Football medal with Ardfert, Tomas O’ Connor plays his football with Ballymac in Division 2 of the county football league and has an All Ireland Minor Football Medal, Jack Goulding was a Kerry minor footballer and won an All Ireland Medal in 2015 as well winning a Junior County Championship Football Medal a few weeks ago with his club, Padraig Boyle was a Kerry Minor Footballer as was his brother Mikey and both recently won Junior County Championship Football Medals with their Club Ballyduff. And just for the record Shane Conway is a damn fine footballer with Finuge as well.

So that’s a fair percentage of the 15 that started against Westmeath all equally adept with the bigger ball. But I can go even deeper. Personally, I had the great pleasure of having both John B Halloran and Evan Murphy play with underage teams I was managing. John B won an U-12 County League medal with Ardfert when he scored 2 goals in a must win game over in Rathmore, and I had Evan Murphy with Ardfert at underage where he also showed great promise.

This Kerry Hurling team is a lot better than they get credit for.