By Damian Dolan.
It’s nine years since Kingdom Kerry Gaels last graced the All Ireland Club Championship with their presence, and long-serving goalkeeper Shaun Howard doesn’t need reminding of the events of that December 5, 2004, Ruislip day.
Littered with players who two years earlier had helped Armagh to All Ireland glory and the Cross to All Ireland club titles as recent as 1999 and 2000, the Crossmaglen arrived at Ruislip for their quarter-final with Kingdom Kerry Gaels as red-hot favourites.
“I remember checking the odds on Paddy Power and they were something like 16/1 on, but I think we were the first team outside of Ireland to get the Irish Independent team of the week, because we gave them such a run for their money,” recalled Howard.
One reporter descried it as ‘arguably the best club championship game seen in London for years’ as the Kingdom produced a heroic performance to be proud of, only to go down 2-10 to 1-9.
Cathal Shortt hit Cross’ first goal in the second minute – in response to Colm Foody opening the scoring – after a defensive error, but the Kingdom hit back to trail by only 1-4 to 0-5 at half-time.
For more see this week’s edition of the Irish World