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Kieran Donaghy On Losing The All-Ireland Final

Donny Mahoney
By Donny Mahoney
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Kerry star Kieran Donaghy took a few minutes out between training for the upcoming International Rules tour and promoting Forza Motorsport 4 to discuss the All-Ireland final, Stephen Cluxton, and his own preferred place on the football pitch


On losing in 2008 to Tyrone vs losing to Dublin in 2011:

2008 was worse. 2008 we were going for a three in a row. If we won, we were going to become part of great teams in Kerry that have won 3 in a row. So I think that was totally more disappointing, when we didn't play that day, when we didn't get a performance. At least against Dublin, for 64 minutes, we played well, we scrapped well, we played really well as a team, and we were four points up. At least you know you gave yourself a shot, but 2008, even though we were ahead by a point with ten minutes to go, we never played, we never got into any rhythm, we were all over the shop going into the game. 2008 for me was a crushing defeat.

On the man, the myth, the mystery, Stephen Cluxton:

I congratulated him on the pitch. I was training with him the Friday after at Carton House and I asked him if he'd enjoyed the ride, as in, had he enjoyed the craic after winning an All-Ireland and the stuff the comes with it. He was like, yeah, but he said he had been brought down back down to earth by the club, or something.

On Cluxton's free:


There was a wind blowing into that end in the first half, and we played into it in the first half. And it died when we came out. The corner flags and the ones behind the hill were limp enough, so I thought he'd slot it to be honest. Every kick he'd taken, even the one he'd taken in the first half that went wide, was like a laser beam, it didn't move it all. It started wide and it never came in. I thought he'd get it to be honest.

On his own point that leveled the match and seemed to seal a replay

It was a good kick, 'cause we'd been on the rack so much and I thought it was going to be enough for a replay. But it wasn't and I suppose that's just how it goes. I felt if we'd got another day out that we might have a chance of winning it. I felt we had the game and let it slip from us. I think a draw would have been a fair result.


I've been practicing on my kicking a lot this year, in the winter time, especially. On my left leg. Just trying to add bits and pieces to my game because I was never a forward at underage. So I said I'd wait till I was 27 to start practicing on my left leg. (thinks...) But there's moment in games when your confidence is up and the body can do great things. You just have to trust it's gonna be there for you when needs be. It was there, but it wasn't enough.

On whether the Kerry team had met up to analyse the Dublin defeat


There'd be nothing really to look back on. You'd be tormenting yourself really. You're better off just to...this team has seen it all and we're always coming back. If we train as hard as we did this year, I don't see why there's not a reasonable chance of us competing at the highest level again

On his preferred position

My future will be at full-forward. I feel that's where I can contribute most to the team. Drifting out is fine too. Going into the final, we felt they were very strong on their kickouts, especially on Paul Flynn's side, which is where I was for the 15-20 minutes. We just wanted to get a foothold and I was happy to go out there because I just wanted to get my hand on ball and get confidence going. It was perfect for me, that role. My role for Kerry will be whatever's asked of me, but I see myself in full-forward.


It was a tricky year, like. I was happy with my performance all year in the league. I felt I was moving well, playing well. Early on in the championship against Limerick, I felt had a good game. I was catching ball and I was laying off for fellas. We played Cork in the Munster final and I played well in that. And then the Limerick game came, and I don't know what happened in that. Fellas were allowed to go wherever they wanted and you'd just see waves of fellas coming down the field soloing the ball and kicking it over the bar without any pressure on them. I felt like I missed a game, almost. I missed competing for the ball in a game. Then to the Mayo game, there was obviously a few fucking launched in early on, speculative enough, but I still should have done better. Had my paws on a few of them. It was a gammy game as well. I was happy that I got a performance out of myself to help the team at full-forward or midfield or wing forward or wherever I was, really and truly, that's what it's about.

On the refereeing in the All-Ireland final

It''s not really an issue, no. All you can do is come stronger. The referee didn't lose us the game. We lost it ourselves. The one thing I'd say about the referees is – if they could get more help for the guys around them. I think the referee should use his help more. There should be more of a team effort in refereeing a game. The linesman should be really on the ball to what's going on around the field. They only really have to concentrate when the ball's going over the sideline. The rest of the time they're just kind of on their own watching the football. The umpires could probably do more. I don't think it's the referees in general. I think it should be more of a collective team.

On the therapeutic aspect of the International Rules tour:


I look forward to it, the same thing happened in 2008 after we lost to Tyrone. We went down to Oz and it helped get it out of the system.




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