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'A hot day in June. Place hopping. The tar melting on the road. And you know that this is it'

For the first time in 20 years, the race for Sam Maguire will have no back door. Will do-or-die encourage a close-fought repeat of 2000 ... or has the game changed so fundamentally that Dublin and their chief rivals are no longer vulnerable to an ambush? We talk to Dara Ó Cinnéide and John O'Mahony, two key personalities in the last straight knockout championship

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7 October 2000; Kerry captain Seamus Moynihan is carried by team mates with the Sam Maguire Cup after defeating Galway. Picture credit; Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

7 October 2000; Kerry captain Seamus Moynihan is carried by team mates with the Sam Maguire Cup after defeating Galway. Picture credit; Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

7 October 2000; Kerry captain Seamus Moynihan is carried by team mates with the Sam Maguire Cup after defeating Galway. Picture credit; Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

DARA Ó CINNÉIDE skips back 20 years to evoke a vivid time and a very different place: Cork versus Kerry in the all-or-nothing era.

"A hot day in June," Ó Cinnéide recounts. "Place packed. Hopping. The tar melting on the road.

"And you know that this is it, like. This is the biggest day of the year, potentially. We're after being beaten by Cork the previous year, in the '99 Munster final on a dirty day.