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Mick O'Connell of Kerry: Considered As The Greatest Fielder Of 1960's/70's Era
The year was 1959 and gaelic football exhibited a new dawn with the arrival of a new messiah from the southern shores of Kerry and the windswept baronies of Valentia Island. Mick O'Connell was about to make his maiden voyage from his beloved island to captain The Kingdom in his first All Ireland football final. An attendance of 85,897 crammed into the hallowed stadium of Croke Park on Jones's Road, Dublin. In the centre circle were the men of Galway in their maroon and white, and Kerry in the famed green and gold. Kerry were the Silver Jubilee Champions.
In 1959 the G.A.A. were celebrating the 75th anniversary of the founding of Cumann Luthchleas Gael and the unique pairing in the 1959 final, enhanced this encounter to fever pitch and immense public interest. The first half failed to deliver, and the scoreline at the break read Kerry 0 - 5 Galway 1 - 2. In the 14th and 17th minutes of the 2nd half, Kerry raised two green flags, courtesy of Geaney and McAuliffe, and when Mick O'Dwyer stroked over another point, the Kingdom went on to fashion a comprehensive victory and claim their 19th Sam Maguire title.
Many tales abound that this was the famous occasion when the Kerry captain, Mick O'Connell, took the Sam Maguire on the Hogan Stand, went back to the dressingroom and became suitably attired for his immediate return home to Valentia in the company of Kerry supporters on Sunday night. As the carriage wheels sped southwards bound, a young Kerry captain was amongst his own kindred and back in his native island as the celebrations were echoing around the capital.
Micko played in 9 finals from 1959 to 1972, winning 4 All Ireland senior football medals and his golden era spanned thirteen glorious years, 1959 to 1972. He contested nine All Ireland finals, but the great midfielder was on the losers rostrum on five occasions. Purists, experts and the fans on the terraces testify, that Micko's equality, in all round skills, during his own era, was impossible to rival.
The peoples No.1 choice for elegance, skill and unique high fetching ability, made the Valentia Islander a sporting hero in all corners of the globe where gaelic football found respect. His desire to always permit his football skills to answer all aspects of his sporting make up, made Mick O'Connell a unique and respected ambassador for the sport of gaelic football.
9 All Ireland Football Finals contested by Mick O’Connell- won 4 lost 5 -
*1959: Kerry 3 - 7 Galway 1 - 4
1960: Down 2 - 10 Kerry 0 - 8
*1962: Kerry 1 - 12 Roscommon 1 - 6
1964:Galway 0 - 15 Kerry 0- 10
1965:Galway 0 - 12 Kerry 0 - 9
1968:Down 2 - 12 Kerry 1- 13
*1969:Kerry 0-10 Offaly 0 - 7
*1970:Kerry 2-19 Meath 0 -18
1972 final - Offaly 1 - 13 Kerry 1 - 13 Replay - Offaly 1- 19 Kerry 0-13
National Football League Honours:
1958/59: 1960/61: 1962/63:1968/69/71/72:
Railway Cup: 1972
All Star: 1972
Texaco Footballer Of Year - 1962
Composed by Derry JF Doody