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O’Sullivan Cup Final 1983 By Larry Kelly Kilcummin captain

Twenty two years is a very long time , yet time has not dimmed my very pleasant memories of captaining the Kilcummin team to victory over Fossa in the O’Sullivan Cup 1983. But like old wine the memories have become sweeter and more treasured with the passing years.

In 1983 East Kerry was a far different place. Emigration was rampant. There was talk of clubs amalgamating and not having enough players to field a team. The incessant haemmorhage of youth from rural areas was omnipresent. Isn’t the change wonderful.! Make no mistake about it folks these are the good times.!

Kilcummin 0-9 Fossa 0-5 The venue was Fitzgerald Stadium. For three quarters of the game it was nip and tuck with very little separating the sides. Kilcummin sprang to life in the last quarter to claim victory.

With the aid of a diagonal wind in the first half Kilcummin sprang into an early lead, with points from John Kerins and ace marksman Michael O’Connor. But Seamus Murphy and Danny Myers were dominating at midfield for Fossa.Mike O’Shea and Ronan Long (son of Tom n.t. and Kerry star) got their names on the score sheet to leave it level at he interval.

Having the advantage of the wind Fossa blazed trail of glory at the start of the second half. Donie Foley ,playing at left half forward kicked two superb points. At this stage it looked as if the O’Sullivan cup was destined to cross Bally Downey bridge. But some astute moves by Kilcummin mentors Billy Dolan, Michael O’Callaghan and Jerry O’Leary , put a halt to Fossa’s gallop.

Danny Mc Carthy (Kerry Minor) came in at wing back with his older sibling Pa moved up to forwards to add punch to the attack. Michael Doolan took up his customary berth at centre back with yours truly being switched to the corner.

This together with the withdrawal of Ronan Long due to injury took the wind out of Fossa’s sails. The sides were level 8 minutes into second half. With 13 minutes gone Seamus Murphy had Fossa’s final point, and from there on the O’Sullivan cup moved ever closer to ascend the corner of the park to the hills of luachra , home of St Cummian.

Kilcummin finished with a flourish with points Mike O’Connor -man of the match , Denny O’Connor ,present Kilcummin trainer, after the best move of the day involving Johnny Doolan, John Kerins and Sean Kelly( known to all gaa fans).

After the game I am proud to have been presented with the cup by the then treasurer of East Kerry board ,Mike Tehan R.I.P. After the customary three cheers for the gallant losers, I remember as if it was yesterday and will be forever etched in my memory. The jubilant Hugh O’Donoghue grabbed the cup as I shyly descended the steps. He roared raucously as he was pursued by a hoard of Kilcummin supporters

"Let the celebrations begin, For the O’Sullivan cup, Kilcummin did win"; Or words to that effect.

Kilcummin did celebrate long into the night. In the confines of the crowded celebrations the halcyon era of 1973 , when Kilcummin won the O’Donoghue Cup was recalled. Comments were made how the 1973 team still backboned the team of the day. Plans were hatched for a Herculean effort the following year to emulate the achievements of the men of 73. It was not to be.

Such plans are still in gestation. Perhaps 2005 will be the year when a new beauty will be reborn and The O’Donoghue cup might once more find a winter abode on the land beloved by Cummian.