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Series alive and well after display: Kernan

By Declan Bogue

Published 23/11/2015

We’ve done it: Ireland manager Joe Kernan celebrates with Jack McCaffrey after the game at Croke Park
We’ve done it: Ireland manager Joe Kernan celebrates with Jack McCaffrey after the game at Croke Park

If there is one thing the International Rules has gifted the sport of Gaelic football, it is the chance for players from impoverished counties to puff their chest out and show what they are capable of.

In the past, we have thrilled to the feats of the likes of Wicklow's Leighton Glynn. It appears Gary Brennan of Clare is the latest to take on this mantle as his three incredible marks in the final quarter were as much reason as any for this narrow win over Australia.

"Just when we needed it most, Gary Brennan had a fantastic last quarter. His three catches were unbelievable and I think everyone in the whole country would be proud of him," beamed manager, Joe Kernan.

His assessment was forthright and satisfied, as he explained, "There are a load of things we could work on, most importantly, did we play well? Did we take the game to them?

"We did all those things. The first 20 minutes we played fantastic football, the passing, the accuracy, the finishing, everything was good.

"The second quarter was also good, the third quarter we laboured and the same with the last quarter."

He added: "Our boys are after having a long year as well, that was bound to have been part of it but we never talked about that beforehand. We don't want to put ideas into anyone's head.

"What we set out to do, we achieved. We won, we played good football and we showed the series is alive and well."

After revealing that Paddy McBrearty was off to hospital to get his shoulder and kidney checked out from a collision with a post Kernan told the story of how Kerry legend Jack O'Shea conducted a ceremony the previous night of handing the players their treasured jerseys for the game.

"He said a remarkable thing and I never thought of it. He said he had a set of All-Ireland medals, but every time I meet somebody, they ask me about the Aussie Rules.

"He couldn't have said a better thing as far as we were concerned to get the boys… If they were doubting anything."

He added: "We know going to Australia next year it will be harder. The two of us doing the thing together makes it.

"You have to congratulate them for the effort. If they don't send their best players then it's no good, it's not going to work.

"But I think they have made the decision and that's the way it's going to be."

On Friday morning, Director-General of the GAA Paraic Duffy and the CEO of the AFL, Gill McLachlan held a meeting when it was informally agreed that next year would feature a two-test series.

Belfast Telegraph

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