|Irish name||Mícheál Ó Síthigh|
28 July 1954 |
Tralee, County Kerry
Mikey Sheehy (born 28 July 1954 in Tralee, County Kerry) is a former Irish sportsperson. He played Gaelic football with his local club Austin Stacks and was a member of the Kerry senior inter-county team from 1974 until 1987. Sheehy is regarded as one of the greatest players of all-time. In 1984, the Gaelic Athletic Association centenary year he was honoured by being named on their Football Team of the Century. In 1999 he was again honoured by the GAA by being named on their Gaelic Football Team of the Millennium. He is currently a selector for the Kerry team.
Sheehy played his club football with the local club called Austin Stacks in Tralee. He won his first county senior championship title with the club in 1973 following a defeat of West Kerry. It was the beginning of a hugely successful period for Sheehy and his club. A second county winners' medal followed two years later in 1975 following a win over Mid Kerry. Austin Stack's retained their title in 1976 before later representing the county in the provincial club series and even reaching the final. A narrow 1-7 to 0-8 defeat of the famous St. Finbarr's club gave Sheehy a coveted Munster club winners' medal. He later lined out in Croke Park for the All-Ireland final against Ballerin of Derry. The Ulster champs took an early lead, courtesy of two first-half goals. Sheehy, however, turned out to be the hero. Two late points, one from an acute line-ball and one from a 45-metre free, gave Austin Stack's a 1-13 to 2-7 win and gave Sheehy a coveted All-Ireland club winners' medal.
Minor & under-21
By the early 1970s Sheehy had joined the Kerry minor football team; however, he had no success in this grade as Cork dominated the provincial championship. He quickly progressed onto the Kerry under-21 team where he captured a Munster title in 1973 following a one-goal defeat of Cork. Sheehy's side later qualified for the All-Ireland final with Mayo providing the opposition. A 2-13 to 0-13 score line gave Kerry the victory and gave Sheehy a coveted All-Ireland winners' medal.
Two years later in 1975 Sheehy secured a second Munster title following a nine-point trouncing of Waterford. Kerry later qualified for the All-Ireland final with Dublin providing the opposition. A 1-15 to 0-10 score line gave Kerry the victory and gave Sheehy a second All-Ireland under-21 winners' medal.
Sheehy made his senior inter-county debut for Kerry in the 1973-1974 National Football League campaign. The men from ‘the Kingdom’ reached the final of the competition and recorded a victory, following a replay, over Roscommon. Sheehy retained his place as a substitute for Kerry’s unsuccessful Munster Championship campaign.
In 1975 a new-look Kerry team was formed under the management of former player Mick O'Dwyer. It was the beginning of a glorious era for Kerry football and Sheehy played a key role in orchestrating much of the success for the team that would come to be regarded as the greatest of all-time. That year he won his first senior Munster title, dethroning Cork as provincial champions in the process. Sheehy later lined out in his first senior All-Ireland final. Reigning champions Dublin provided the opposition and were installed as the red-hot favourites over the youngest Kerry team of all-time. On a rain-soaked day John Egan and substitute Ger O'Driscoll scored two goals and 'the Dubs' were ambushed by 2-12 to 0-11. It was Sheehy's first All-Ireland winners' medal at senior level.
In 1976 Sheehy captured his second Munster title before later lining out in his second All-Ireland final. Once again it was Dublin who provided the opposition. Both sides were hoping for success; however, new 'Dub' Kevin Moran was causing havoc with the Kerry defence. Jimmy Keaveney converted a penalty to help Dublin to a 3-8 to 0-10 victory and defeat for Spillane.
1977 proved to be another frustrating year. The year began with Sheehy capturing a second National League medal on the field of play and a third consecutive Munster title following another win over Cork. Kerry later took on Dublin for the third consecutive year, however, this time it was in the All-Ireland semi-final. In one of the greatest games of football ever-played 'the Dubs' triumphed and Sheehy was still left waiting for a second All-Ireland medal.
In 1978 Kerry faced little competition in the provincial championship once again. A defeat of Cork gave Sheehy a fourth Munster winners' medal in-a-row. Kerry later qualified for a third All-Ireland final in four years. Old rivals Dublin provided the opposition; however, the game turned into a rout. The game is chiefly remembered for Sheehy's sensational goal. The Kerry forward lobbed over the ball over the head of Paddy Cullen, who was caught off his line arguing with the referee. New full-forward Eoin Liston scored a hat-trick of goals. Pat Spillane played all over the field, including goalkeeper after Charlie Nelligan was sent off. At the full-time whistle Kerry were the winners by 5-11 to 0-9.
In 1979 Kerry made it five-in-a-row in Munster as Cork fell by ten points in the provincial final. Sheehy later went in search of a third All-Ireland medal as he lined out in a fourth championship decider. Dublin provided the opposition for the fifth consecutive occasion. Kerry were handicapped throughout the game. Ger Power did not start the game, while John O'Keeffe got injured and Páidí Ó Sé was sent off during the encounter. Two goals by Sheehy and a third by John Egan helped 'the Kingdom' to a 3-13 to 1-8 victory. It was Sheehy’s third All-Ireland winners' medal.
Kerry's dominance continued in 1980. Another defeat of Cork in the provincial final gave Sheehy a sixth Munster winners' medal in succession. Another All-Ireland final appearance beckoned, this time with Roscommon providing the opposition. The Connacht champions shocked Kerry and took a five-point lead inside the first twelve minutes. Sheehy popped up again to score the decisive goal, as Kerry went on to claim a 1-9 to 1-6 victory in a game that contained sixty-four frees. The victory gave Kerry a third All-Ireland title in succession, while Sheehy added a fourth All-Ireland winners' medal to his ever-growing collection.
In 1981 Sheehy won his seventh consecutive Munster title, before lining out in a fourth consecutive All-Ireland final against Offaly. Kerry had an easy win with seven players combing for a great goal. He captured his fifth All-Ireland winners' medal that day as Kerry won by 1-12 to 0-8.
In 1982 Sheehy secured an eighth consecutive Munster final victory over Cork and Kerry's record-breaking five All-Ireland’s in-a-row bid remained intact. The championship decider pitted 'the Kingdom' against Offaly for the second year in-a-row. Kerry had the upper hand for much of the game and were leading by two points with two minutes left to be played. The game, however, was not over as Offaly substitute Séamus Darby, who had entered the game almost unnoticed, produced the most spectacular of finishes by scoring a late goal. Kerry failed to score again to level the match and Offaly went on to win their third All-Ireland title ever. Kerry's five-in-a-row dream was shattered.
Kerry missed out on an historic nine-in-a-row in Munster in 1983, as Cork finally triumphed. 'The Kingdom' bounced back the following year with Sheehy winning his third National League medal and his ninth Munster title. The centenary-year All-Ireland final pitted Kerry against old rivals and reigning champions Dublin. 'The Kingdom' dominated the game from start to finish. Only two Dublin forwards scored as Kerry ran out easy winners on a score line 0-14 to 1-6. It was Sheehy's sixth All-Ireland winners' medal.
Kerry made no mistake again in 1985. A two-goal victory over Cork gave Sheehy a tenth Munster winners' medal. Another All-Ireland final beckoned, with Dublin providing the opposition for a second consecutive year. Jack O'Shea scored a key goal after eleven minutes and Kerry stormed to a nine-point lead at half-time. 'The Dubs' came storming back with Joe McNally scoring two goals. The gap could not be bridged and Kerry won by 2-1 to 2-8. The victory gave Sheehy a record-equalling seventh All-Ireland winners' medal.
In 1986 Kerry's dominance showed no sign of disappearing. Cork fell again in the provincial final, giving Sheehy an eleventh Munster title. A tenth All-Ireland final appearance quickly followed and it turned out to be an historic occasion. Tyrone provided the opposition in their first-ever Championship decider. A Peter Quinn goal gave the Ulster men a six-point lead in the second-half; however, the game was far from over. Pat Spillane ran fifty yards up the field for a hand-passed goal to get Kerry back on track. Sheehy scored a second goal to give 'the Kingdom' a 2-15 to 1-10 victory. The victory gave Sheehy a third All-Ireland medal in-a-row. It was his eighth All-Ireland winners' medal overall, a record haul of Championship medals and a record that he shares with fellow Kerrymen Páidí Ó Sé, Ger Power, Ogie Moran and Pat Spillane.
The glory days were now over for Kerry as Cork captured the Munster title following a replay in 1987. With that Sheehy decided to retire from inter-county football.
Sheehy also lined out with Munster in the inter-provincial football competition and enjoyed much success. He first lined out with his province in 1976 as Munster defeated Leinster by 2-15 to 2-8. It was his first Railway Cup winners’ medal and the first of three-in-a-row for Sheehy and for Munster. After losing out in 1979 and 1980 Spillane captured a fourth Railway Cup title in 1981. His fifth and final Railway Cup title came in 1982
Sheehy was also a talented soccer player in his youth. He has been offered trials with Southampton in the early 70s. He was given a list of fixtures for the Southampton reserve team and told to travel over any weekend for a trial with the team. There was only one snag: he would have to pay his own way. Sheehy didn't think that was the way to do things so he turned down the offer. Sheehy played for St. Brendan's Park F.C. in Tralee. Later in the supplement, it is said that he gave up soccer when he broke on to the Kerry senior team.
- Corry, Eoghan (2005). The GAA Book of Lists. Hodder Headline Ireland. pp. 234–238.
- "Munster Club Championship Football Winning Teams". Munster GAA. Retrieved 2009-04-03.[dead link]
- The GAA Book of Lists p. 418
- "Munster Under-21 Football Championship Winning Teams". Munster GAA. Retrieved 2009-03-30.[dead link]
- Donegan, Des (2005). The Complete Handbook of Gaelic Games. DBA Publications. p. 156.
- "Kerry GAA Profile". www.hoganstand.com. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
- "Munster Senior Football Championship Winning Teams". Munster GAA. Retrieved 2009-03-30.[dead link]
- The GAA Book of Lists p. 403
- The GAA Book of Lists pp. 403-404
- The GAA Book of Lists p. 404
- The GAA Book of Lists pp. 404-405
- The GAA Book of Lists p. 405
- The GAA Book of Lists p. 405
- The GAA Book of Lists pp. 405-406
- The GAA Book of Lists p. 406
- The GAA Book of Lists p. 406
- The GAA Book of Lists p. 406
- "Munster Railway Cup Football Teams". Munster GAA. Retrieved 2009-03-30.[dead link]
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