Galway senior football captain Seán Kelly.
Galway senior football captain Seán Kelly.

Kelly brothers contributing for Galway

By Cian O'Connell

“It is massive, just the excitement,” Galway senior football captain Seán Kelly says about returning to a first All-Ireland SFC Final in 21 years.

Sunday's Croke Park clash against Kerry has captured the imagination in the west. Kelly, a games development officer for Galway GAA, knows how vital it is to ensure the next generation are inspired.

“I'm going around to Cúl Camps at the moment, just seeing the excitement on kids faces, even down in my own pitch, seeing lads out kicking footballs if I'm going down doing a gym session or whatever," he adds.

“It is great to see, it is something the county will benefit from. Hopefully we can keep reaching these high standards being in All-Ireland finals. It is where you want to be as a player.”

That three Kelly brothers – Seán, Paul, and Eoghan – are involved in the Galway set-up currently is another source of satisfaction. “We are busy enough, all going training together,” he laughs. “It is a bit of a family affair with three of us in there, but it is an honour for the family.”

Seán Kelly is a key performer for Galway.
Seán Kelly is a key performer for Galway.

Seán Kelly has flourished in the maroon and white jersey with 2022 providing plenty of medals and memories already. “Exactly, you could say that, winning is a habit, that is what we say,” he replies.

“It was great to get over the line in the Sigerson, we won the FBD at the start of the year, we lost the league final to Roscommon, we were disappointed. We kicked on from that, we had a Connacht Championship to prepare for one game at a time. We got over the line and then into the All Ireland series, we are looking forward to the next day.”

Sigerson and underage battles against a gifted crop of Kerry footballers linger in Kelly’s mind. The 2017 All Ireland U21 semi-final featuring several players from both counties, who will be involved this weekend illustrates the quality of that match reflecting back five years later.

“We have had a couple of games against them - 2017 we played them at U21, a lot of those young lads have come through,” Kelly says.

“We got over the line that day and obviously UCC too, a good few of the lads played them. It is not something we are scared of, you cannot be scared of someone else. We are looking forward to it, we know it is going to be a tough battle.”