OFF THE BALL: Presenter Nathan Murphy, former Kerry footballer Kieran Donaghy, former Kerry Manager Pat O’Shea, former Meath Manager Sean Boylan and former Kerry footballer Darran O’Sullivan at the Dr Crokes GAA Club in Killarney. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile


By Sean Moriarty

Over 200 people attended a live broadcast of an internet-based sports chat show at the Dr Crokes Clubhouse on Wednesday night.

‘Off The Ball’ presenter Nathan Murphy and Kerry football legend Kieran Donaghy interviewed special guests including former Kerry Manager and Dr Crokes stalwart Pat O’Shea, former Kerry star Darran O’Sullivan, and Meath legend Sean Boylan. Also present was Margaret LawlorSlattery, one of the trailblazers of Kerry ladies football in the 1970s.

The two-hour programme gave fans a fascinating insight into what life is like behind the scenes for an inter-county player and their relationships with their management teams.

The programme was dedicated to tomorrow’s (Saturday) crucial Super 8 tests as Kerry take on Meath and Donegal face Mayo to decide who will contest the All-Ireland football semi-final in two weeks’ time.

Many feel that Kerry are a shoe in. A win or a draw would guarantee the Kingdom a slot in the last four, but the expert panel warned against complacency at such levels and pleaded with Kerry fans to travel to Navan and support the young Kerry team.

Regardless of what happens this weekend, Meath cannot progress but that won’t stop them from having a go and what better scalp to claim than to stop Kerry’s ambition to appear in another semi-final.

“Kerry are the aristocrats, I can see our lads throwing caution to the wind,” Boylan, who managed Meath to four All-Ireland titles in the late 1980s and late 1990s, told the audience. “If we win it will be out of this world and it we lose at least we went down with a fight.”

Kerry is very much a new outfit since Peter Keane took the helm earlier this year and there are fears in some quarters that the young squad does not carry enough of experience to go all the way.

Darran O’Sullivan disagreed.

“This Kerry unit is only starting,” he said. “Bringing in Adrian Spillane, he has that old-school style about him, he likes the rough and tumble and he will lord the skies on Saturday.”

Donaghy called for fans to travel.

“I want to see Kerry have the edge on Saturday,” he said. “The Meath crowd will come out in force, I hope the Kerry crowd will go and support this young team. They need that support and the atmosphere will be electric.”