Sunday 4 December 2016

Kingdom view: Heroic Dublin deserve it but we'll be back

Published 19/09/2011 | 05:00

Four points down and the clock ticking remorselessly away like mortgage interest. Dublin, bridesmaids more often than Elizabeth Taylor's best friend, are heading for yet another defeat to Kerry.

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Kevin McManamon comes on to little fanfare. That man could barrel his way up Niagara Falls. He rolls over Kerry.

McManamon's magnificent goal saved his team when the Fat Lady not only sang but was well on her way to Weight Watchers.

Ah but this is tough, like writing your own obituary while you're a lodger on death row.

This was the best final in many years. Kerry played their part with some superb scores and a never-say-die spirit.

I have to say I'm proud of my countymen. Kieran Donaghy's equalising point was kicked under enormous pressure from the edge of the known world and I thought 'well isn't that a great way to end such a battle'.

Stephen Cluxton's high catch just a few minutes earlier was a leap of faith. His free to win the game means a Cluxton Street or Cluxtontown is just waiting to be christened.

Cluxton is a true hero. His backswing was slow and smooth. The silence on the Hill was Thomondesque. The kick was over the bar from the minute it left his boot.

There is an issue, though, and it also arose in the Donegal game. The 'keeper's journey upfield wasted a crucial extra few seconds of the stingy extra-time of barely two minutes. Not near enough. If these lads were in charge of spooning the sand into egg timers, there would be no such thing as hard-boiled eggs.

Dublin deserved to win, if only for the fact they never gave up. Even when Kerry were teasing them with pass after pass, the Dubs stuck at it. The breakdowns in the Kerry passing game were gobbled up like roadkill by a team that has been starving for 16 years.

We are heartbroken for Kerry and especially for The Gooch. He had a mighty game and so too did the Brogan boys. Their mother is a neighbour, their dad an old friend.

You had to be there to see the unbridled joy in the faces of the Dubs. A city became a town and a million will speak of this triumph every September for the rest of their lives.

The win will do wonders for the tourist industry in Kerry. The Dubs will come down in their droves to tell us how great these boys were. We will not contradict them.

I'm not sure, though, if the referee will be seen paddling in Ballybunion next summer. In my opinion his decisions favoured the Dubs. He was entitled to give that last free, but awarding it wasn't in the spirit of the most exciting final for many years. I felt he had a bad game overall.

We have only ourselves to blame. Turnovers should be kept for Pancake Night.

Dublin marked man to man for this one and got their reward. We spotted Pillar Caffrey all togged out in his Garda gear. Dublin owe him a great debt. Many of the Dublin players came to him after the game.

Pat Gilroy, his successor, did a marvellous job. He's a Vincent's man and followed his clubman Kevin Heffernan by building a team of big men. Only the Brogans were under six feet tall and only then by an inch.

Dublin's physicality troubled Kerry throughout. They rode their luck at times when yellow could have easily been red, but most of the time it was just hard, fair, tackling with every Kerry possession coming with a sentence of hard labour without remission.

Gilroy got it just right.

The Tipp minors did to Dublin what Dublin did to Kerry. It was another thriller. The winning goal from Colman Kennedy will have Croke Park calling the insurance company to claim for a new roof on the net.

So south we'll go now, listening to Lyric to avoid sports news and dreaming of what might have been, but Kerry will be back. I promise you that. It's not in our nature to give in or lie down.

We lost to a noble Dublin team who honoured their city and their families with a truly heroic display. There's no shame in that.

Irish Independent

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