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19th Jun 2022

Pat Spillane Jr’s skilful score in Tailteann Cup highlights just how far he has come

Lee Costello

Lovely flick, followed by a lovely kick.

Pat Spillane Jr has found his way onto the county stage through a more convoluted route than most.

A Kerryman born and raised in The Kingdom, son to one of the greatest Gaelic footballers to play the game, and one of the most notorious pundits at that, Spillane showed great promise and drive in his own career.

However, not always the first choice pick for his home team Templenoe, and not involved in the Kerry senior county set-up, career choices meant he made the move to Dublin.

With the travel so long, the midfielder transferred to St Judes and played a central role to their run to the Dublin County final last season, showcasing the potential that many always knew he had.

Then the news came that the Kerryman who plays in Dublin does indeed get a county call-up, but it’s not for either of these counties.

Instead, his mother’s native Sligo came knocking on the door, and gave Junior the opportunity to play on the big stage, particularly as this was the first year that the Tailteann Cup was introduced.

Tony McEntee often sprang the Munster-born player from the bench, but today in the semi-final against Cavan, under the bright lights of Croke Park, he finally had the platform to star.

An energetic player, he ran box to box for the full 70 minutes, kicked two excellent scores and was a constant thorn in Cavan’s side.

His second point in particular had a lovely bit of magic in it, as he flicked the ball up into his hands, turned the defender, and popped it over the bar.

Sligo’s season may be over, but there are a lot of positives to take from it, and the emerging force of Pat Spillane Jr is certainly one of them.

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