GAA

Kerry's Youngest Football Club Claims All-Ireland Title

Kerry's Youngest Football Club Claims All-Ireland Title

Na Gaeil won the All-Ireland Junior Club Football Championship at Croke Park on Saturday.

In one of two curtain-raisers for Dublin and Kerry's meeting in the league, Na Gaeil defeated Wexford's Rathgarogue-Cushinstown by 21 points. It is the tenth time that a Kerry team has won the title at this grade.

The Tralee side were wasteful in the first half. Despite dominating, they only led by four points.

"There wasn't any complacency there," Na Gaeil manager Donie Rooney told Radio Kerry.

"We were after dominating: We had 21 shots in the first half and they had six. Even though we dominated the game, they were still in it and they were very accurate.

"We tried to pick better options with our shots, that was the big thing. I turned around to our stats fella at one stage and asked how we were doing and he said, 'We've eight out of nine scored at the start of the second half'. It was a big difference.

"They got five of their first six kick-outs off. After that, we turned the screw a bit and we intercepted one. We've tried to do bit of a press in the last number of months. It seems to have worked. We nearly got a goal the last day out of it and we got one today from it."

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Na Gaeil was only formed in the late 70s - it is the Kingdom's youngest football club. They hit 3-20 in all with one of their points coming from sub Paul Daly, a man older than the club.

"We've had an amount of young fellas after coming into our panel but Paul has been an ever-present there," said Rooney.

He never misses training and always gives it 100 per cent. He deserved to come on more than anyone.

Rooney confirmed after the match that he and his two selectors will not be continuing as Na Gaeil's senior management team.

"I have four young kids at home," he said.

"We all have four young kids at home, myself and the two selectors.

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"Whatever about the amount of hours you put into it, you don't have the headspace. You're going to bed thinking about it, you're waking up thinking about it. You're grumpy if things aren't going well, you're happy if things are going well.

"Your heart would love to stay there but the head is saying that it's time to go.

"The lads, it's time for someone else to bring them forward. There's a huge opportunity for that group. I'm not saying they're going to win the [Kerry] intermediate [championship] next year but they won't be far away from it.

"We had five Kerry minors last year, four of them are eligible to play next year. If anyone is getting complacent, they'll be looking over their shoulder."

Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

See Also: 'We Had 7 Sets Of Brothers, When Brothers Are Fighting Together, It's Hard To Beat Them'

Dylan Ryan

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