“We see young people wearing hurleys and being crazy about hurling”
His credentials at Wexford and Cork are firmly established, but at Kilmoyley they see John Meyler as one of their own at this stage.
“I think he’s been with us for almost 21 or 22 years now, on and off,” Kilmoyley captain Florence McCarthy said. “He hasn’t been there every year, but he’s been there for 16 or 17 years, I would say.”
In total, the former Wexford, Cork, Kerry and Carlow manager guided Kilmoyley to seven county titles and having recently helped them become the first club in the Kingdom to win the Munster IHC title, they now stand 60 minutes away from success all over Ireland.
For all Meyler has done in inter-county play, it would be a remarkable achievement if he and Kilmoyley could nail this one. Even if they don’t, it won’t be the last you see along the west Kerry coast.
“He really likes Banna Beach which is only across from us, three or four minutes away,” McCarthy said. “He loves to go swimming there, any time of the year. I don’t know how he does it, especially at this time of year. It’s absolutely Baltic there, but it’s not a problem for him. He also does a good bit of biking around the place in the summer. He’s like another ward member at this point.
Sometimes Meyler does two jobs in the area, enjoying a chat but also seeking information on upcoming pitchers.
“If there’s a younger group, like the minors or the U-16s, if they’re in contention for the senior team but a bit early, they’ll take those teams,” McCarthy explained. “He knows what’s coming and what everyone is capable of and just by talking to everyone around the parish, it just helps him bleed all those players into the upper ranks.
“We saw it with, say, Daire Nolan and Ronan Walsh, two of the guys who faced Banagher on the last day of the All-Ireland semi-final. They had a massive performance when they came on, fresh legs. Through his experience and being in the parish and talking to people in the parish, John gets to know all of these players pretty quickly.”
McCarthy, among a group of Kerry players on the Kilmoyley panel, knows how important an All Ireland win could be for the club’s future, potentially inspiring more youngsters to get involved.
“Even outside of our own parish lately we see young people wearing hurleys and crazy about hurling,” said the defender. “It’s a welcome boost. Even in schools and on social media you see the excitement that’s going on. And for other clubs, seeing us there, I think that should really raise the standards.”
They say similar things about Naas, namely that it is a rare opportunity for a historic win to inspire a generation of pitchers in a football-dominated county.
“The Naas are very strong, they would have 10 or 12 Kildare panel members,” he said. “We know the business we’re up against.”