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Dublin: 16 °C Saturday 23 September, 2017

How Peter Keane's leadership put Kerry in the frame for a fourth All-Ireland title in a row

The Kerry manager is hoping to guide his team to even more success.

Peter Keane is part of SuperValu's #BehindTheBall campaign.
Peter Keane is part of SuperValu's #BehindTheBall campaign.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

In the build up to the All-Ireland football final on 17 September, we’re taking a look at local GAA from the sponsor’s point of view and how it’s much more personal than a logo on a jersey.

IT’S DIFFICULT TO imagine now, but prior to the 2014 decider, Kerry were facing a 19-year wait for an All-Ireland minor football title.

For a county with 23 finals appearances to their name up to that point — including nine wins — it represented a footballing famine.

However, the Kingdom go into Sunday’s All-Ireland minor decider with Derry on the back of a three-year, 23-match unbeaten streak and have the chance to create even more history in Croke Park.

While Kerry, Cork and Dublin have all won three minor football titles in a row, no county has ever managed to lift the Tom Markham Cup four seasons in succession.

But the man at the helm of the all-conquering Kingdom this weekend had already tasted All-Ireland success in Croke Park before taking charge of the Kerry minors.

Peter Keane Keane issues instructions during a Kerry minor training session. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

As a player, Peter Keane, who together with his wife Siobhan manages and owns SuperValu Killorglin, won an All-Ireland vocational schools medal with Coláiste Iosagáin, won four county U21 championships with South Kerry and played for the Kingdom at minor, U21 and junior level.

However, it was his success with St. Mary’s Cahirciveen that elevated him to national attention.

While one of the most successful clubs in Kerry — winning the South Kerry senior football title 32 times — and despite boasting greats of the game such as Jack O’Shea and Maurice Fitzgerald, it wasn’t until Keane took charge that St. Mary’s won an All-Ireland title.

That success arrived in 2011 when they came from four points down to beat Swanlinbar of Cavan to lift the All-Ireland junior club championship. It was a performance that marked Keane out for bigger and better things.

The following season he was appointed as a selector for the Kerry minors under Mickey Ned O’Sullivan and, after Jack O’Connor took over the U21s in 2016, Keane was seen by many as his natural successor.

Seamus Moynihan and Peter Keane Keane with selector Tommy Griffin. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Since then, Kerry have not looked back, winning his 11 championship games at the helm and scoring an average of 24 points per game in the process.

However, as he’s proven again and again in his time in charge, Keane is not one to rest on his laurels and, in the aftermath of Kerry’s 12-point semi-final win over Cavan, was quick to dismiss talk of another All-Ireland title, instead focusing on where his side needed to improve when speaking to the assembled media.

But with Keane manning the line, and superstar forward David Clifford keeping the scoreboard operators on their toes, few would back against there being green and gold ribbons on the Tom Markham Cup again come Sunday evening.

SuperValu is a proud sponsor of the GAA All-Ireland senior football championship and local GAA clubs around the country and are set to donate 55,000 footballs to clubs across Ireland and deliver volunteer camps throughout the summer.

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