Over the last two decades, The Kingdom have added another 7 All-Ireland titles to their collection. The conveyor belt supplying the talent within the county is infinitely producing more and more top-level footballers every year. From the year 2000, we have been graced with the likes of Colm Cooper, Declan O’Sullivan and most recently David Clifford to name but a few. In its own way, it must create a headache for Kerry managers to choose from such an ocean of talent. Surely some brilliant players have slipped through the net? We asked Dingle’s Mikey Geaney, Dr. Crokes legend Eoin Brosnan and Kerins O Rahilly’s livewire Barry John Keane to choose the Best Kerry XV “That never was” of the last 20 years, and give us an insight in to some of the Kerry greats that we were never graced with.
Cordal shot stopper Sean Og O Ciardubhain was the resounding choice at number 1. Despite having appeared for the Kerry junior team where he picked up 2 All-Ireland medals, he was never given the chance to prove himself with the seniors. “He was a great club championship player, and always controlled the game from the back” explained Eoin Brosnan.
Honourable mention: Peter Lyons (Killorglin).
Full Back Line:
Dr. Crokes’ John Payne was unanimously chosen at corner back, his clubmate Eoin Brosnan mentioning that Payne “was often the man you would put on the other teams best forward”. He was accompanied by his clubmate Mike Moloney at full back. ‘Smiler’ was an anchor in the defence for the Killarney club. Completing the trio was Skellig Rangers defender Stephen O’Sullivan, a man who would take no prisoners and was also a Kerry minor with Brosnan back in 1998.
Honourable Mention: Aaron Cahalane. (Mid Kerry)
Half Back Line:
Denis Shine O Sullivan of South Kerry was the first man selected on the half back line, he was partnered by his South Kerry accomplice Brian Hickey. Both were pivotal for the club in their 5 championship wins across the era. After much deliberation on who should be on the opposite side, the lads eventually settled on Ronan Flaherty of An Ghaeltacht.
Honourable Mentions: Sean O’Mahony (Castlegregory), Brendan Kelleher (Dingle) Shane Myers (Dr. Crokes), Shane Doolin (Dr.Crokes).
Selected at number 8 was Dr. Crokes midfielder Ambrose O’Donovan, he was central to their success inside and outside the county. Partnering him in the middle was Mike Burke from the Milltown/Castlemaine club, according to Mikey Geaney “He was Dara O Se’s toughest opponent at club level”, astounding praise when one looks back at that illustrious list.
Honourable Mention: Fintan Ash (Dingle), John Sugrue (South Kerry).
Half Forward Line:
The Dr. Crokes representation continued in to the half forward line, Brian Looney was the first name on the lips of the triumvirate, his efforts in 2017 helped his club bridge a 25 year gap and claim a second All-Ireland title for the Killarney club. On the 40 was his club mate Daithi Casey who took the centre forward berth. They were joined by Liam Murphy of Gneeveguilla.
Honourable Mentions: Jack Ferriter (Dingle), Rob Mac Gearailt (Dingle).
Full Forward Line:
Sneem forward Ronan Hussey was given the number 13 jersey, his trusty left boot helped him win 3 county titles with South Kerry. On the square is Spa’s Mike O’Donoghue, he brought his club to an All-Ireland Intermediate final in 2010, as well as representing the Kerry juniors for many years. The last man to make the team was Austin Stacks’ Mikey Collins, “he has to be in there” said Barry John of the Tralee man.
Honourable Mentions: Jamie Doolin (Dr. Crokes), Darragh Long (Austin Stacks).
Kerry XV That Never Was 2000-2020
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