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Starlet David Shaw predicts more talent is arriving down the Kerry production line

Shaw and Billy Courtney picked up their fourth All-Ireland at Croke Park in 19 months.

“WELL JOE BROLLY, what do you think of that?”

Kieran Donaghy Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Kieran Donaghy’s famous retort after the 2014 All-Ireland final has gone down in folklore, but almost as poignant was the line that preceded it.

“Joe Brolly told us the production line was finished in Kerry,” Donaghy said with a smirk.

He was referencing an article Brolly wrote the previous March, with the headline “Production line grinds to a halt at the Kerry football factory.”

Almost exactly three years ago, Brolly referenced Kerry’s lack of success at U21 and minor ranks as the reason for their impending doom at senior level.

Of course, they went on to lift the Sam Maguire later that year. But that was only the start.

Fast forward to 2017, and Kerry are aiming to win a fourth All-Ireland minor title in-a-row. Here’s an interesting statistic: The Kerry minors haven’t lost or drawn a championship game since he wrote that piece.

Kerry players celebrate with the cup after the game Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Then again, we shouldn’t take Brolly too seriously. Earlier this week at a Newstalk roadshow in Crossmaglen, Brolly told presenter Ger Gilroy: “One of the most ridiculous things in society is to get paid talking about football.

“It’s just puff, talking about football. I enjoy the public discourse but I tend not to analyse the games too much. I tend to talk about the bigger issues about Gaelic Games.”

But back to Kerry, whose U21s confirmed their status as All-Ireland favourites this week by swatting Cork aside to win their first provincial crown since 2008.

Then you come to the Hogan Cup. Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne lifted the title in 2014 and ’15, while St Brendan’s, Killarney scratched a 24-year itch in the final last season and then backed it up with another victory yesterday.

Dara Moynihan of St. Brendan's lifts the cup Dara Moynihan of St. Brendan's studies the Hogan Cup Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Rather than grinding to a halt, the ‘Kerry football factory ‘ is booming. Business couldn’t be better.

David Shaw and Billy Courtney are two players that can be held in evidence that the good times are back in Kerry.

The pair have each won four All-Irelands at Croke Park in the last 19 months – two All-Ireland minors and a couple of Hogan Cups. That figure would have been five had they been on the Dr Crokes senior squad for their St Patrick’s Day victory.

Eoin O'Leary and David Shaw David Shaw in action yesterday Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Even more ominous was Shaw’s prediction that there’s plenty of top class talent arriving on the Kingdom production line.

“There’s massive work going on underage,” he said. “There’s been massive credit given to all those coaches. I don’t think Kerry are finished yet underage.

“There’s a lot of unreal players coming through, even in the ‘Sem.’ The Moran Cup team this year are a fantastic team and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Hogan coming back in the next 10 years again.

“I can’t believe it. Last year was so special, to back it up now is beyond belief. We put in a massive effort all year.

“We have massive experience in the team. There’s a load of us that won the Hogan and the Tom Markham last year with the (Kerry) minors.”

A general view of play Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Despite retaining their All-Ireland, St Brendan’s manager Garry McGrath revealed he had a relatively some pick to chose from this year.

“This Leaving Cert year is one of the smallest years we have in the school,” he said. “I think there’s only 58 Leaving Cert boys, which is a very small pick. For some of them to win two Hogan Cup medals is phenomenal.”

Boasting a number of talented youngsters from Killarney and the surrounding areas, the ‘Sem’ were solid defensively and adventurous in attack.

“We’ve worked very, very hard and we’ve got our rewards,” McGrath continued. “A lot of these lads have tasted success with the Kerry minors and the South Kerry development squads.

“They’ve tasted it with their clubs and success breeds success. They’re very motivated and they drive each other on.

“We kicked 18 points in an All-Ireland final, you have to be very, very happy with that.

“The likes of Billy and David have picked up their fourth All-Ireland medal today at 18 years of age. It’s just phenomenal.”

The good times are coming.

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Kevin O'Brien

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