Memories of 1995 come flooding back as the good times roll again
I was standing on Hill 16 when Dublin last won an All-Ireland senior football final.
Sixteen years ago it was.
A time before X Factor. A year after a chap called Bertie took over Fianna Fail.
So long ago there's a generation of Dubliners from all over the county who haven't experienced the sense of elation that comes with the raising of the Sam Maguire Cup.
I can testify to what it's like to hail All-Ireland champions and be swept up in the emotion of the occasion. I remember the buzz of that day vividly. The sunlight glinting on the silverwear as it was hoisted aloft under the Hogan Stand.
The tears of joy in the eyes of those who'd seen their team denied by Meath in the infamous three-in-a-row matches in '91 and by Donegal in the All-Ireland final the following year. And the hope among those fans, male and female, that Dublin would be back again the following year.
No one, not even Mystic Meg plays with a crystal ball.
For Dublin, it just wasn't to be. If it was easy, everyone could win the Championship.
But yesterday, a lifetime later, Dublin took a major step towards bringing back the good times. The seasoned commentators can complain that Donegal didn't play attractive football.
Don't get sucked into this debate. It's nonsense. Everyone wants to win an All-Ireland title. How they go about it is up to them.
Dublin knew in advance that Donegal would present them with problems. Yesterday, they discovered why Donegal are Ulster champions. They're bloody hard to beat.
That's why yesterday afternoon the people in blue shirts around me were giving the impression of enduring a range of medical complications from heart attacks and aneurysms to outbursts of speaking in tongues. It may have seemed dull as ditchwater on television, but in Croke Park yesterday the stress levels were at an all-time high.
Dublin had faltered at this particular hurdle many times before, so years of nagging doubt rippled beneath the surface. You know what it's like when you want something really badly. There's a big day coming in September. Seventy minutes of another gruelling challenge. Another almighty test for the Dubs. Only then can we welcome back Sam Maguire.
Only then can Dublin supporters party like it's 1995.