Kieran Donaghy's autobiography is out today.
Its title - 'What Do You Think Of That?' - refers to his ecstatic interview following the 2014 All-Ireland final win against Donegal.
Joe Brolly was the target of that famous line due to earlier in the year having declared that the Kerry production line of quality young footballers had come to a halt.
The article in which Brolly made the claim along with another featuring more personal criticism was fuel for Donaghy's All-Ireland ambition that year.
Kieran Donaghy on Joe Brolly motivating him to All-Ireland victory
Donaghy had both of those articles pinned to the wall in his makeshift home gym as he worked his way from injury to becoming a key part in Kerry's All-Ireland win.
Then, the morning before I’d come on towards the end of a hard-fought first-round win in Ennis over Clare, Brolly made it more personal. About how I was a two-year wonder, how soft I’d become and had believed my own hype and no longer had any right to be called ‘Star’. Not knowing it was a nickname I was given when I couldn’t make my own school team. Not knowing or overlooking the work I did to get back for that All Ireland in 2009 after beating his beloved Derry earlier that year in the league final.
“Distracted?” “Eye off the ball?” For the previous five months I’d been up at 6.15 in the morning to go to either the pool in the Brandon or the racetrack in Castleisland. At home I was doing these pelvic thrusts. Now he’d given more reason and ammunition to do them. A few days after that Clare game I cut out that article: ‘CATCH A FALLEN STAR, PUT HIM IN YOUR POCKET.’ And I pinned it beside his earlier one about the Kerry production line. Many is the time that summer that article got me up in the morning and I’d be there, gritting my teeth, thinking, Joe Brolly, you fuckin’ bollix. I’ll show you if it’s the last thing I do.
Kerry were dead and beaten against Mayo in the 2014 All-Ireland semi-final until Donaghy entered the game as a late sub. At the time, it appeared to be a desperate throw of the dice, Donaghy had been dogged by injury all year and had featured little. Two high catches by the Traleeman were crucial, leading to scores which sent the game to a replay in Limerick.
In the final against Donegal, he started and scored 1-2 as Kerry won the game by three points. All that hard work from Donaghy had been fruitful.
Initially, following the game, Donaghy was opposed to doing an interview with RTÉ. He wanted to soak up winning an All-Ireland surrounded by teammates rather than being on a pitch thronged by supporters.
However, at 'the fifth time of asking' he acquiesced and spoke to Joanne Cantwell. It was a brief but memorable chat.
Joanne says something about us not supposed to be winning All Irelands while in transition. And then it just jumps out. Those couple of articles pinned up on the wall at home. About the production line – and me – being finished.
“WELL, JOE BROLLY, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT?!”
And then I walk off, clenching my fist, leaving it at that, just wanting to get back to my boys, not realising those words will never leave me!
Even if I’d copyrighted that line for that night alone, I’d have made a fortune from all the people repeating it to me at the banquet.
I didn’t mind though. Joe had actually been a big fan of mine through the years. That’s probably what bothered me about the article and why I pinned it to the wall. But when the chance presented itself, I just couldn’t resist throwing that little dig about what he said about me, and more importantly, about Kerry: the 2014 All Ireland champions.