Many thanks to Niall Flynn, author of 36 and Counting . . . Kerry’s Football Story to 2009, who has notified me of a few gaps in the archive. Now we’ll know just how much Kerry used beat us by back in the 1910’s (mutter mutter). He also had a very droll observation on the nature of the struggle to find information back in the early days of the association:
The problems I had back when gathering all my stuff were varied – lazy journalism was tops (scorers did not tally to team score was tops). Also the Kerry boys had the knack of putting fellas in different jersies (especially subs)…so the national papers would report that so-and-so wearing number 17 came on, while The Kerryman reporter would have the correct name but would complain about wearing incorrect numbers. So use the local account if in dispute was my rule. (of course Kerry cute-hoorism would never put a speedy, left-footed player in a slow but accurate freetakers jersey and have 2 goals before the opposition realised the programme was wrong – nah, didn’t think so).
It’s quite amusing to think of hacks confusing their audiences with such Ballymagash-style nonsense – until you consider how not getting it right there and then effectively removes the event from history. If that seems like hyperbole, look at how Dickie Roche’s research into the county hurling championships could find “no record” of the winner in 1898. If no one wrote it down at the time, then once the last participant died it would be as if it never happened. No way of ever retrieving it. It may not be a tragedy on par with the lost works of Sophocles – that would be hyperbole – but it is still sad that these events are, like the alaotra grebe, gone forever.