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04th Dec 2021

Kieran Donaghy vs Tommy Walsh – The ‘Twin Towers’ reunite this weekend

Lee Costello

Over a decade on, the old teammates become rivals.

In 2008, Kerry boasted two giants of men in the full-forward line, Austin Stacks’ Kieran Donaghy, and Kerins O’Rahillys’ Tommy Walsh.

Walsh was the young, but freakishly strong, up-comer for The Kingdom, while Donaghy had already cemented his name in Kerry folklore and was nicknamed ‘Star’ for good reason.

In 2007 Kerry had won yet another All-Ireland title, seemed to be the dominant force in the country and their forward line packed a serious punch already.

Kieran Donaghy

The aforementioned Donaghy led the line in full forward, Colm Cooper was playing some of his best football, while the other positions were filled with by future legends like Paul Galvin and Declan O’Sullivan.

Now, a year later, this young monster of a man from Kerins O’Rahillys is thrown into the mix, forced his way into the starting line-up at just 20 years old, and formed an historic partnership with the Austin Stacks man.

Such was the fear that that the now dubbed, ‘Twin Towers’, struck into opposition, when they met Tyrone in that year’s All-Ireland final, the Red Hands manager Mickey Harte, had to make unusual decisions in training just to prepare his team.

Tommy Walsh

With Justin and Joe McMahon the men in charge of stopping the Twin Towers, they needed to replicate what they will be coming up against in training.

For this reason, Harte would put the likes of Collie Holmes, and even goalkeeper John Devine, to play up front in the training matches, and use their huge physical prowess to try and dominate the McMahon brothers.

Although this did prove successful and Tyrone won the 2008 All-Ireland, it highlights just how much thought had to go into stopping the pair.

Kieran Donaghy

2009 was when they perfected the partnership however, and they both played pivotal roles in helping their county retain the Sam Maguire against Cork.

Now, thirteen years on from when they originally struck fear into the heart of defences all over the country, they are poised to take on each other, in a Tralee derby, with the winner claiming the Kerry county club championship.

Austin Stacks last won it in 2014, but O’Rahillys haven’t held that title since 2002.

While both players are past their prime, they are still each key men in their respective teams, and with both now retired from their inter-county teams, and teammates no more, they will embark on the pitch tomorrow, as rivals.

With one Tower in each team, it will be interesting to see what side will reach the dizzy heights of Kerry club football once again, and who will fall.

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