The All Ireland final between Galway and Kerry at Croke Park promises to be a fascinating affair.
Here are some numbers from both camps ahead of their big clash with Sam Maguire.
Sunday’s All-Ireland Final is the 23rd championship meeting between Kerry and Galway. The current record sees Kerry with 12 wins, Galway with seven, while there have been three draws.
The Kingdom won their first meeting in the 1913 All-Ireland semi-finals 1-08, 0-01 before clinching the title by beating Wexford. Kingdom captain Dick Fitzgerald scored the goal in that win over Galway at Maryborough, which was renamed Portlaoise seven years later.
Galway’s first championship win over Kerry came six years later when they won an All Ireland semi-final replay and reached the final for the first time, where they lost to Kildare.
The Connacht side also won the last meeting between the two, a 2018 Super Eight game at Croke Park. Galway won 1:13 to 1:10, Patrick Sweeney and David Clifford being the scorers and the Kingdom would eventually finish third in the group behind Galway and Monaghan to miss out on a semi-final spot.
Jack O’Connor is preparing for his sixth All-Ireland final in his third spell as coach of the Kerry footballers.
Following the departure of Páidí Ó Sé following the All-Ireland 2003 semi-final loss to Tyrone, O’Connor, a former selector under Ó Sé, took over as manager and qualified for three consecutive finals.
The first and last of these would prove fruitful as they recorded a combined 5-35 in two Finals wins against Mayo, with Tyrone defeating them in the 2005 Showpiece.
O’Connor returned to the job in 2009 following the departure of Pat O’Shea and, like the first time, Sam Maguire came on in the freshman year as Munster rivals Cork were defeated. O’Connor would lead Kerry back to the final in 2011 where Stephen Cluxton’s famous free-kick would usher in a period of dominance in Dublin.
On Sunday against Galway, O’Connor will be hoping for more first-year glory after coming back for a third bite of the cherry.
Galway have had 15 different goalscorers in their five league games to date. Shane Walsh leads 1-27 [his penalty shoot-out goal against Armagh doesn’t count] and he is third on the scorers list behind Derry’s Shane McGuigan [2-28] and Dublin’s Dean Rock [1-30].
Walsh is also one of only two Galway players to score in all five games this season, Johnny Heaney the other.
The distance in kilometers between Owen Gallagher’s hometown club Glenavy in Antrim and his newer club Moycullen in Galway.
It’s been quite a journey for Gallagher, brought into the Saffron panel by Liam Bradley and then making his second inter-county debut at Connacht when Pádraic Joyce called him up in the Galway squad for the season. Coincidentally, Gallagher faced Joyce in his very last game for the Tribesmen, when Antrim shocked their most vaunted opponents in a 2012 qualifier at Casement Park.
Gallagher moved to Galway to study medicine a few years ago, after making the long journey to Antrim for a few seasons he joined Moycullen and helped them win their first-ever senior title in 2020.
Although he missed the All Ireland semi-final win over Derry, Gallagher came off the bench in wins against Leitrim and Armagh, scoring in the former.
Despite having a game fewer than Galway, Kerry has had 16 different goalscorers in his four league games this season.
Sean O’Shea’s 1-23 earns him the top scorer award while David Clifford, who missed out on Munster’s final win over Limerick, is second best at 1-13.
O’Shea is the only player to have scored in all four games, with Clifford brothers David and Paudie, Paul Geaney and Tom O’Sullivan finding their range in three games.
Both Kerry and Galway have won league games this season by a whopping 23 points, the widest margin of victory alongside Dublin’s hammers against Wexford at Leinster.
Galway pulled off the feat when they beat Leitrim 4-20 in the Connacht semi-finals, while Kerry was on brilliant scoring form as they won the Munster title with a 1-28 to 0-08 final win over Limerick.
Kerry goaltender Shane Ryan has conceded just one goal en route to the final, the Rathmore man being beaten by Cormac Costello’s second-half super-goal for Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final.
Ryan will be hoping to follow Niall Morgan, who conceded a goal for Tyrone against Donegal in Ulster last year before keeping a clean sheet in the final as the Red Hands conquered Sam Maguire.
Follow Sunday’s All-Ireland Football Championship final between Galway and Kerry from 14:00 on our live blogs on rte.ie/sport or via the RTÉ News app. Watch live broadcasts on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player with live radio commentary on RTÉ Radio 1
Watch Up for the Match this Saturday from 21:45 on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player
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