One person Kerry's panel and management were keen to put in the spotlight after ending an eight-year wait for All-Ireland glory on Sunday was a certain Paddy Tally.

The experienced coach was the outside voice brought into the fold by Jack O'Connor for this year, and the Tyrone native's influence was clearly appreciated by those in green and gold, especially in fortifying the defensive system.

And playing a part in the Sam Maguire success was gratifying for the man himself, who was speaking to RTÉ Sport's Marty Morrissey outside the Gibson Hotel where the Kerry contingent are staying.

"If you'd asked me 12 months ago would I be here, I'd never have imagined it," said Tally.

"Jack approached me and initially he was thinking of staying with Kildare and he asked me would I be interested in working with the Kildare team.

"But then when he decided to go to the Kerry job again, he said would I be interested in working with the Kerry for a year.

"As it worked out, I was on a career break for the year and it's been a lovely journey for me."

Tally (L) alongside manager Jack O'Connor and selectors Diarmuid Murphy and Micheál Quirke

Tally also credited Kerry for helping him to comfortably bed into a set-up far - literally and figuratively - from home.

"I felt very gratified to Kerry for the warmth they showed me to come into the group coming from where I come from and we have a fierce rivalry with Kerry as well. The Tyrone rivalry has sort of become embedded in our games," he said.

"But when they brought me in here, they made me very welcome and showed me that sort of respect, took on the ideas I was trying to work out with them.

"It's been lovely and it's worked out nicely this year."

Speaking alongside Tally, Kerry manager O'Connor outlined the attributes he wanted the coach to add to the mix.

"You have to stick to your principles and I knew Paddy was a good lad and a good coach and he proved his mettle with the improvements in the team this year," he said.

"Our record of concessions is second to none this year. We only conceded one goal in the championship and that was a wonder goal by Cormac Costello so obviously Paddy has to take a lot of the credit for that."

Meanwhile, the Mayor of the Tralee Municipal District says there is a huge level of excitement in Tralee and throughout Kerry as people prepare to welcome home their Croke Park heroes.

Celebrations began in Tralee just about 4pm, Mikey Sheehy said, with a DJ and music lined up.

He told Morning Ireland that everyone is delighted that the team have been able to break down so many barriers this year.

Mr Sheehy added that the community is thrilled for the players who give "so much back."

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