From Mannion's first blood to that final sideline free - how the decider unfolded
Dublin move quickly into their stride. After 21 seconds Paul Mannion draws first blood, taking on Tadhg Morley and scoring into the Hill 16 end goal. Seanie O’Shea, with the first of ten points, has Kerry level inside two minutes. Dean Rock launches a hugely impressive opening half performance with a point from play and then wins a free, which he converts. But there are already signs that this may not be straightforward for Dublin. Paul Geaney works a one-two with O’Shea and his low shot is saved on the goal line by James McCarthy in the sixth minute.
Dublin 0-3 Kerry 0-1.
No team wants to admit that some players are indispensable. Dublin managed to win an All-Ireland in 2016 when Jack McCaffrey was on leave, away seeing the world, but they would have lost this one without him. Kerry decided to place Adrian Spillane on the Dublin speedster but in the 18th minute he loses the Clontarf man and Dublin get the game’s opening goal. The score is an illuminating example of Dublin at full tilt. Brian Howard fields brilliantly from a Stephen Cluxton kick out. The ball is played on to Niall Scully and he releases McCaffrey who belts the ball past the young Rathmore keeper Shane Ryan. Only a minute before Kerry had taken a 0-5 to 0-4 lead, having missed a 12th minute penalty when Geaney was unable to beat Cluxton. Stephen O’Brien had a point that might have been a goal a couple of minutes later. McCaffrey’s goal closes off a riveting opening quarter’s football.
Dublin 1-4 Kerry 0-5
Just before the half-hour mark McCaffrey is again involved, leading to a Rock score from play and two minutes later Rock makes a super catch from a Cluxton kickout, which leads to the only score of the day for Con O’Callaghan, tightly marked by Tom O’Sullivan. Kerry are five points in arrears and Dublin are starting to look more assertive.
Dublin 1-8 Kerry 0-6
Like the hurling final two weeks earlier, a sending off becomes a huge talking point approaching half time. Jonny Cooper goes for a ball with David Clifford and seems to grab the Kerryman’s arm as they wrestle for possession. Already on a yellow card it is a dangerous policy and he pays full price when David Gough reaches for a second yellow and then a red. O’Shea nails the free and Kerry reduce the lead but have increased hope with an extra man for the second half.
HT: Dublin 1-9 Kerry 0-8
Paul Murphy, man of the match in his maiden season when Kerry last triumphed in 2014, breaks through and crashes a fierce shot off the Dublin crossbar five minutes into the second half. Sean O’Shea lands one of three 45s in the follow-up from a flawless kicking exhibition, and Kerry trail by just two points. They are not clinical with their goal attempts which is letting Dublin off the hook. Still, within close striking distance of the Dubs, and a man to the good, they have restarted brightly. A shock result now looks very much on.
Dublin 1-9 Kerry 0-10
McCaffrey, now being marked by Gavin White, is unstoppable and scores again, part of a 1-3 haul, to leave Dublin five points clear. A long way to go but they are absorbing Kerry’s best shots and have outscored them marginally since resuming after half time despite the numerical disadvantage. Kerry need some spark or impetus.
Dublin 1-14 Kerry 0-12
Boom! Having both been on the field only a few minutes, Tommy Walsh, who first played for Kerry in 2008, combines with Killian Spillane to put the Templenoe man racing through on the Dublin goal. Brian Howard is trying to keep him at bay but Spillane manages to swerve left and plant an excellent strike low to the corner of Cluxton’s goal. Green and gold spectators rejoice. Kerry are right back in the game and have finally scored that elusive goal. A Walsh point three minutes later increases the pressure on Dublin and three minutes after Walsh sets up O’Shea for the equalising score. They have hit Dublin with 1-2 without reply.
Dublin 1-14 Kerry 1-2
A curling delivery off the boot of Killian Spillane splits the posts at the Hill 16 end with four minutes of normal time remaining. Kerry nose in front. Two minutes earlier Kerry are blessed not to end up with 14 men when Tom O’Sullivan, already booked, clumsily challenges John Small. Can Kerry, now they are in front, see it home?
Kerry 1-16 Dublin 1-15
In the final minute of normal time sub Cormac Costello looks to have levelled the sides but his shot is ruled wide after the intervention of Hawk-Eye. Diarmuid Connolly, also introduced, lets fly from distance. Another wide. But Dublin never stop fighting and a series of turnovers leave Kerry under incessant pressure. With four minutes of the seven minutes for stoppages played, their labours are rewarded when Rock scores his tenth point of the day. He has one final chance to sneak victory from a free on the sideline from a wicked angle, but it veers wide. The final whistle then blows on an incident-filled classic.
FT: Kerry 1-16 Dublin 1-16