Tears spilled | 

Pat Spillane on his All-Ireland final tears and why this Kerry win meant so much

Spillane admits memories of his father stirred his emotions.
Killian Spillane, left, and Adrian Spillane of Kerry lift the Sam Maguire Cup. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Killian Spillane, left, and Adrian Spillane of Kerry lift the Sam Maguire Cup. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

Tony ConsidineIndependent.ie

Pat Spillane has opened up further about his emotional reaction on The Sunday Game following his native Kerry’s All-Ireland win last weekend.

The eight-time winner of Sam Maguire broke down in tears after watching his nephews Adrian and Killian add another two Celtic Crosses to a glittering haul in the Spillane household, as he recalled the untimely death of his father Tom Spillane the week after the 1964 All-Ireland final which had been also between Kerry and Galway.

And he also revealed that his father’s memory was marked on the pitch once his brother Tom’s two sons entered the pitch after coming off the bench for the second half.

“I know it was my last day on The Sunday Game but that story about my father …” Splillane said, speaking on The Throw-In, Independent.ie’s GAA podcast.

“Even Adrian texted me last night and he had written the year 1964 down on his gloves just to remember his grandfather and just to remember the occasion and why it meant so much.

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“Kerry Galway matches matter so much to us in the Spillane household. My father was a man in his 40s, passionate about football and was a selector with Kelly in 1964. They were staying in the Gresham Hotel and he went for a walk along O'Connell Street and got a very bad pain in the chest.

“He should have gone to the doctor but said no I want to be in the dugout tomorrow with Kerry and the man died on the Tuesday after returning home from the All-Ireland final the day before.

“So Kerry v Galway clashes have always brought back those memories and this was sort of an outpouring of that on Sunday. It was just brilliant to see the two lads and just to see it. Like I said the GAA is all about families and it's just nice to see.

“My father played with Kerry, my uncle captained Kerry in the Polo Grounds in New York. My uncle Jackie trained Kerry to win All-Irelands and played with Kerry to win All-Irelands.

“Then myself, Mick and Tom, and then to have another generation there on Sunday in Killian and Adrian was just something special, something very personal. I can't sum it up any more.”

While Kerry’s 0-15 to 0-10 defeat in that 1964 decider was obviously overshadowed by Tom’s sad passing in the Kingdom, it was also the start of a golden era for Galway and the first of a three-in-a-row.

And with the monkey of the third longest drought in the county’s history now off the most successful county in football history’s back, Spillane recognised that the “day of deliverance” now opens up the possibility of stretching their eight-title lead over Dublin further.

“It was a special day for our family and it was also a special day for Kerry,” he said.

“I know this was Kerry’s 38th All-Ireland but football means so, so much to the people of Kerry. It's about club, it's about family, it's about community.

“We talk about famines in Kery and it'd been eight years and we've been talking for years about this talented bunch of minors coming through with possibly the greatest footballer of all time David Clifford there.

“But until such time as you deliver on potential, talking about great young footballers counts for nothing.

“So Sunday was deliverance day, I think it was the lifting of a lot of emotions.”

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