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Big Shindig Celebrates The First Great Gaelic Football Team Of The Television Era

Big Shindig Celebrates The First Great Gaelic Football Team Of The Television Era
By Conor Neville
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The Salthill Hotel is the venue this weekend for a celebration honouring the first great Gaelic football team in the RTE era.

Before 1962, filmed coverage of even the biggest hurling and football matches was restricted to a few moments of action captured by British Pathe, accompanied by a plummy voiced Englishman on commentary, saying things like 'But then the gallant Tipperary men swept down the pitch, and from this move, a goal is scored.'

That all changed in the early '60s, and we got the full treatment - all sixty minutes of the game broadcast live with Micheal O'Hehir's reedy vice blaring out in living rooms around in the country. I suspect there was no pre- and post-match analysis, mind.

Kerry beat Roscommon in the first televised football final in 1962, and then the Dubs pipped Galway in '63.

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And then for three years, Galway dominated the landscape. They won three successive All-Ireland titles between 1964-66 and became the most recognisable team in the history of the game up to that point. As Martin Breheny has pointed, they were on TV more than anyone else.

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They were regarded as one of the slickest and most stylish teams the game has ever seen at time.Galway's reputation for that 'sort of stuff' is built largely on the back of that team. (Goalkeeper Johnny Geraghty made the interesting observation below that he suspects the IQ of that team was particularly high. For the era that was in it, a huge proportion of them were educated at third level).

Notable players include captain and corner back (and future Sunday Game pundit) Enda Colleran, full back Noel Tierney, classy wing-back Martin Newell, centre-half forward and the only westerner to have won four All-Ireland medals, Mattie McDonagh, free-taker Cyril Dunne, speedy wing forward Seamus Leydon and sharp-shooter corner forward Johnny Keenan.

Two teenagers were drafted in for the final instalment of the three-in-a-row, and featured in the 1966 final against Meath.

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Eighteen year old midfielder Jimmy Duggan, the Ciaran McDonald of the early '70s, who, at a time when many kicked the ball in an agricultural fashion, stroked the ball around elegantly and future manager Liam Sammon, who summed up the era by being held aloft at the end of the match while a fag dangled from his mouth.

Only Kerry have done the three in a row since. The video captures their appeal nicely.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDzueyAM3Fo

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