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How A Young Kieran Donaghy Learned Not To Trash Talk Maurice Fitzgerald

How A Young Kieran Donaghy Learned Not To Trash Talk Maurice Fitzgerald

It was a Kerry county league final between Austin Stacks and St Mary's when Kieran Donaghy realised he should keep his mouth shut around Maurice Fitzgerald.

"I played against Maurice in 2002, 2003 in a County League final in Connolly Park with Stacks," Donaghy told eir Sport, who this evening broadcast three classic Dublin vs Kerry games starting at 7pm.

Fitzgerald had been retired from the Kerry jersey for a couple of years at that stage while Donaghy was still a couple away from making his Kingdom senior debut.

"You have no idea, I couldn't wait to get hold of him, couldn't wait to mark him," Donaghy continued.

"I told the manager on the Monday, 'I'm marking Maurice Fitzgerald in the middle of the field. Put [William] Kirby on somebody else'.

"I tore at him for the first 20 minutes and I was playing really well. I was going down the right sideline and the crowd were going, 'Go on, Star, take him on, take him on'. I wouldn't be a take on merchant by any means.

"I played it with my right and bounced it across him. I threw my left leg at [the ball]. This absolute rocket curled left-legged over the bar. I turned around and gave a fist pump to the crowd, jogged out and hopped off Maurice two or three times.

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maurice fitzgerald kieran donaghy 2003 county league final st marys austin stacks

24 December 2011; Maurice Fitzgerald, St. Mary's, in action against Colm O'Connor and Aidan O'Connor, right, Dromid Pearses. South Kerry Senior Football Championship Final. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

"The next kick out came from the St Mary's keeper. I was going to catch it. Maurice put his knee on my neck bone - I'll never forget it - and drove me face first into the ground.

"I heard the gasp of people as he caught it. The boys said he caught it ten feet in the air. He landed, went down the field and kicked it to Austin Constable. I picked myself off the ground and jogged back; I was thick, 'Jesus, that was a foul'.

"He got it back out from Austin Constable. I came from behind him to hit him a belt. He just stood me up, looked at the posts, and did what he did to Pat Holmes. He went to kick it with the right and I took off (dived) to block him. I ended up on the ground for the second time in ten seconds. He put it back on his left from outside the 45 and hit it over the bar.

"He was jogging out and said, 'Just stay quiet for a few more minutes'. Like Reggie Miller in the documentary about the Bulls when Jordan walked off the court and said, 'Don't ever talk to black Jesus again', I said, 'Don't ever talk to Maurice Fitzgerald again'.

"I was lucky to be on the same pitch as him. I quickly realised that this fella had a [hard] side to him. As the game went on, he couldn't help but get me with little elbows. The game was in the melting pot and they won by a point or two late on."

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