Tuesday 20 February 2018

Can history repeat itself as classic rivalry gets a very modern twist?

Eoin Liston playing for Kerry in the All-Ireland final
Eoin Liston playing for Kerry in the All-Ireland final
Eoin Liston

Eoin Liston

All week long we've been listening to people say that this is a classic All-Ireland final and the game that everyone wanted to see.

And for some of us, that's undoubtedly true.

But I'm sure there are many out there who would love to see a Longford-Clare football final instead. I'm afraid that day is a very long way off and it's a real problem that they GAA have to look at and deal with.

As I've said before in these pages, the gap between the haves and the have-nots is getting wider and it's only going to go one way if something isn't done about it.

Of course, for me, this is the classic All-Ireland final because four of my finals as a player, '78, '79, '84 and '85, were against Dublin. As long as I live I'll look back on those battles, the rivalry, the friendships and the craic with great fondness.

I know beating Dublin in a final was much sweeter than beating any other team and I'm sure Dublin players would tell you the same themselves. In fact, I've heard them say that beating Kerry in a final was worth two All-Irelands!

A lot of people still look back to the teams of the seventies and eighties as the high-point of football. This is developing into a great modern rivalry though and it has all the ingredients of those games 30 years ago.

Just like '78 the Dubs are looking for three Kerry scalps in the Championship in a row and the Kingdom are desperate to put a stop to their trot.

My first final was in '78 and at one stage it looked as though we were going to be beaten. A few things then just went our way and the rest is history. Can history repeat itself on Sunday?

Irish Independent

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