Paudie Palmer: Kiskeam youngster Seán Meehan made a serious impact

Paudie Palmer: Kiskeam youngster Seán Meehan made a serious impact

Seán Meehan of Cork in action against Gavin White of Kerry. The Kiskeam native had a massive impact for the Rebels. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

IT IS probably best to get it out of the way at the beginning.

I honestly didn’t think that Kerry people, and that was those of them that slept, would wake up in a very dark place on Monday morning last. By the way, nor did you.

You don’t need this corner to remind you that 2020 is a year like no other but for Kerry folk, there was more than a strong belief that some normality would be added if Sam could be lured away from his blue surroundings and to that end, the pathway was more than favourable.

Right now, they feel that they didn’t even get a chance to issue invites requesting that he travel south.

We could tell you that it wasn’t the greatest game ever played.

David Clifford is tackled by Tadhg Corkery. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
David Clifford is tackled by Tadhg Corkery. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

We could point to the two missed David Clifford chances or we could take issue with the Weather Lord doing what he has a habit of doing at this time of the year in letting the heavenly bath empty in one go, but we won’t.

No, this was one mighty win for those many football apostles who devote hours of their free time to ensure that Gaelic football remains a relevant identity for many of those that reside inside the red border.

I can’t say the majority of the pundits went for a customary Kerry victory because that would slightly incorrect, they all did.

However, a few decided to add their own sprinkling of revengeful salt. When the team was announced, I heard one guy mention that he when saw the team he was convinced that it was a dummy one and I have no doubt he was referring to among others the debutants.

I must make a confession here, I had no problem with the panel of players named except one, where were they going with this guy Mark Keane? I know, I’ll probably be in receipt of a few responses, when I tell you this, I still don’t, but now that is a story for an altogether different occasion.

Back to the declaration that it was a mighty day.

Who is this boy Seán Meehan?

I know he was on the Cork team that won the U20 All-Ireland but how many of you have heard of him? He was going to be wearing number six, it’s an important shirt.

Not long after throw-in, this young man was making polished sole runs into enemy territory, who did he think he was? James McCarthy from Dublin?

He made some impression.

Long long after the thrown in, this confident you man from Kiskeam made another of those stylish runs from deep, he passed a serious checkpoint manned by two Kerry men on defensive duties, I thought that he would have a cut, no, he laid it off, took a return and then he brought Luke into the equation.

The Nemo man can never be accused of being boring, no, I am not sure what he was trying to do, maybe he wasn’t either.

It ascended for a while before beginning the descent. The tallest man in Mitchelstown was in around the goal, he didn’t have to rise an inch, it arrived into his hands.

There have been misses recorded from this close, but not from this buachaill. He may be only 20, he may go on to become a legend in Aussie footy, right now he has his own chapter in Cork’s Gaelic football folklore.

The gamble, whose ever idea it was, had paid off.

Mark Keane may have finished it but it was the unknown number six from Kiskeam that began the raid. I am not sure how long ago Seán Meehan’s father left a hurling stronghold in Clare to take up employment in Kanturk Coop.

Of course, I haven’t all the details but he and his wife Theresa Culloty settled in this most Gaelic football passionate area of Duhallow.

Sunday will be a day that will live long in the memory of not only the residents of the Meehan household but in every home in this parish.

You do remember Danny Culloty the American born player who was a key performer in Cork winning All-Ireland’s in 1989 and 1990, Sean’s mother is a first cousin.

It was a mighty day because Seanie Powter got to play his chosen sport at the highest level once again.

Sean Powter and Sean O'Shea. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Sean Powter and Sean O'Shea. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

What he has gone through in terms of injury is absolutely mind-boggling and I just couldn’t believe that he was still on the field to earn that late free.

This talented young Douglas player could have gone down the route of hurling, rugby or soccer, such is his determination, skill, speed, strength and on-field intelligence.

However, he decided akin to many many more in this county to stay with this code because of his preference for it. He is some role mode.

Normally when, you mention the dark old days, in most sporting contexts, you have to travel back a few decades.

In Cork football, the last dark period was in the Spring of 2019.

After relegation to Division 3 and not a real hint of any green shoots, it suited some that the demise appeared fatal.

Behind the scenes, though a number of decent, honest and committed officials were potting plans in place, none more so than a coaching pathway that would benefit Cork football.

Now after Sunday’s victory, you have three Cork managers, namely Bobby O’Dwyer, Keith Ricken and Ronan McCarthy, that have overseen victories over Kerry in Munster championship games in the recent past.

I heard a few mention that they were disappointed not to be present for that final green flag event and of course one would have to feel for these genuine followers, but do you know what I think many more red folk saw this because of the restrictions.

In a normal course of events, this game would be in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, how many Cork fans would have attended?

Level at the end of normal time, who has won most of the replays?

Even if last Sunday was dry, many would have headed to the fresh air outlets, but because of the inclement nature of the day, the TV lounges had a higher than normal number of attendees for a Cork football match.

Many intended watching until the red defences collapsed allowing the Green and Gold army to march on.

The Cork management containment strategy kept them viewing longer than planned, some didn’t even realise that extra time would be brought into place.

The two-point lead will always command attention and then the moment where Cork football probably for the first time in a long raised the mental stock of the county’s citizens.

No back-door. Whatever happens, Kerry can’t inflict pain again until next summer at the earliest. What a mighty day for the red corner.

Contact: paudie.palmer@hotmail.com Twitter: @paudiep

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