By Sylvester Hennessy, Kerry’s Eye GAA Correspondent
Kerry’s historic 23 game unbeaten home run in the Championship in on the line on Saturday evening. The Kingdom’s incredible 17 year journey is unprecedented in the game. Cork’s last victory in Killarney came back in 1995 and since then Kerry have managed to remain unbeaten in the championship in their own back yard. Seven counties have travelled to the Kingdom in hope of success in that period of time but all have returned empty handed. In other words Tyrone and Kerry have even more to play for on Saturday.
Kerry’s 23 games unbeaten home run is the greatest in the history of the game, and dwarf’s any previous Kerry team or any outside the county. During the O’Dwyer era Kerry did go on a 12 game unbeaten home run but no team has managed to come anywhere near the present day side’s remarkable achievement.
When you look at the current comparative home records of other counties it makes Kerry’s record look even all the more praiseworthy. The naysayers will argue that Kerry are regularly meeting weaker opposition in Munster but surely Cork have been in the top 3 teams in Ireland over the past decade. The current All Ireland champions have been in every All Ireland semi-final since 2005 and in that time they have competed in 3 All Ireland finals winning 1.
It is incredible to think that if you are sitting amongst the crowd in Killarney on Saturday as a Kerry supporter and you are under the age of 21 then it is unlikely that you will remember seeing Kerry losing a Championship game at home.
So yes, Saturday’s game between Kerry and Tyrone is important! It is important first and foremost because both teams want to progress in the 2012 Championship. That really is the most important aspect of the day. But there are other welcome sideshows. Tomás Ó Sé equals his brother Darragh’s record of 81 Championship appearances, Colm Cooper lies just 8 points behind Mikey Sheehy’s all time Championship scoring record and Kerry protect their record 17 year unbeaten Championship home run. It promises as always to be a fascinating game in Killarney on Saturday evening. Kerry’s team of record breakers are looking to extend their amazing run and here’s hoping that we will be celebrating even more success as the Summer progresses.
Kerry’s 23 Game Unbeaten Home Run
1997 Kerry 2-12 Tipperary 1-10 Austin Stack Park
1998 Kerry 1-14 Cork 1-11 Fitzgerald Stadium
1999 Kerry 1-11 Tipperary 0-8 Austin Stack Park
Kerry 3-17 Clare 0-12 Fitzgerald Stadium
2000 Kerry 2-15 Cork 1-13 Fitzgerald Stadium
2001 Kerry 1-15 Limerick 1-10 Fitzgerald Stadium
2002 Kerry 0-8 Cork 0-8 Fitzgerald Stadium
2003 Kerry 0-25 Tipperary 1-10 Austin Stack Park
Kerry 1-11 Limerick 0-10 Fitzgerald Stadium
2004 Kerry 0-15 Cork 0-7 Fitzgerald Stadium
Kerry 3-10 Limerick 2-9 Fitzgerald Stadium
2006 Kerry 0-16 Waterford 0-8 Fitzgerald Stadium
Kerry 0-17 Tipperary 1-5 Fitzgerald Stadium
Kerry 0-10 Cork 0-10 Fitzgerald Stadium
Kerry 4-11 Longford 1-11 Fitzgerald Stadium
2007 Kerry 1-15 Cork 1-13 Fitzgerald Stadium
2008 Kerry 1-14 Clare 0-5 Fitzgerald Stadium
2009 Kerry 0-13 Cork 0-13 Fitzgerald Stadium
Kerry 0-14 Sligo 1-10 Austin Stack Park
2010 Kerry 0-15 Cork 0-15 Fitzgerald Stadium
Kerry 1-17 Limerick 1-14 Fitzgerald Stadium
2011 Kerry 2-16 Tipperary 1-11 Fitzgerald Stadium
2011 Kerry 1-15 Cork 1-12 Fitzgerald Stadium