Kerry Football Legend Mick O’Connell- And now its back to Valentia Island


32cm x 24cm  Caherciveen Co Kerry

Framed print of one of there greatest Gaelic Footballers of all time – the legendary Mick O’Connell.

Michael “Mick” O’Connell (born 4 January 1937) is an Irish retired Gaelic footballer. His league and championship career with the Kerry senior team spanned nineteen seasons from 1956 to 1974. O’Connell is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the game.

Born on Valentia Island, County Kerry, O’Connell was raised in a family that had no real link to Gaelic football. In spite of this he excelled at the game in his youth and also at Cahersiveen CBS. By his late teens O’Connell had joined the Young Islanders, and won seven South Kerry divisional championship medals in a club career that spanned four decades. He also lined out with South Kerry, winning three county senior championshipmedals between 1955 and 1958.

O’Connell made his debut on the inter-county scene at the age of eighteen when he was selected for the Kerry minor team. He enjoyed one championship season with the minors, however, he was a Munster runner-up on that occasion. O’Connell subsequently joined the Kerry senior team, making his debut during the 1956 championship. Over the course of the next nineteen seasons, he won eight All-Ireland medals, beginning with lone triumphs in 1959 and 1962, and culminating in back-to-back championships in 1969 and 1970. O’Connell also won twelve Munster medals, six National Football League medals and was named Footballer of the Year in 1962. He played his last game for Kerry in July 1974.

Recollecting his early years on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and Radio Kerry, O’Connell spoke of how he was introduced to Gaelic football.He also revealed he had regularly played soccer with Spanish fishermen on his native Valentia Island.

“Well, I remember I was 11 or 12, my father bought them (boots) in the shop in Cahirsiveen. I remember playing beside the house at home and I remember the first day I got those from the shop I was delighted. But after that there wasn’t a lot of people with football boots. “We would play barefoot often during the summer — and we were happy to play barefoot — that’s the way it was back then.

“My father bought us a ball, a size 4. It wasn’t too big but it was fine. We would play at home and coming home from school a lot of people would come in playing with us, schoolboys, and often, very often, the Spanish would come in taking shelter from the weather, they would come in and play soccer with us. “If there was bad weather, they’d take shelter here in the harbour. They wouldn’t have a penny but a drop of wine in bags but they had no money and they’d come in and play. It was nice to watch them. I was practicing left and right but we had no trainers or coaches at the time. It was just a case of practicing between ourselves, nice and gently. There were no matches but games between ourselves and that’s all we had at the time.”

It was O’Connell’s father Jeremiah who helped begin his son’s love of Gaelic football although he himself had no background in the game. “My own mother (Mary), she was never at a match and my uncle who was born in 1880 or that, he was living with us on Valentia Island, he was never at a match.


Additional information

Weight 2 kg
Dimensions 55 × 50 × 4 cm
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