Life seemed half normal again. A game to watch. Thanks to the players and the GAA. Will anyone dare take it away this time?
es, there were issues with celebrations after club finals. That's what people do when they win championships. It is part of their being. Does anyone seriously think there will be dancing in the streets if Dublin win Leinster or Kerry win Munster? The inter-county scene is completely different from the club scene.
We are heading for another bout of restrictions. The national mood will be bleak without games. People have to have something to look forward to, and there is very little risk to players in having games without spectators.
There is certainly far more risk in me going to school every day with almost a thousand milling around, between students and teachers. The footballers and hurlers representing their counties are the heroes of the winter. Some won't want to play but I note there is a big difference in the responses to the GPA survey between the strong and the weak counties. The show must go on.
Kerry and Monaghan showed how much it meant to them. They went at it with intent. A couple of years ago Monaghan played Kerry off the pitch in a Super 8 game but were denied late on by a wonder David Clifford goal which salvaged Kerry a draw. This time Clifford stroked over a couple of early points and then decided to lay off the ball and make some of the other forwards look good. Kerry's Diarmuid O'Connor looked very promising at midfield. He moves across the ground well and looks as if he could get better. Ronan Buckley also has a future.
For a long while in the first half it looked as if Monaghan were wearing Kerry jerseys as they retreated en masse and played on the break.
The Kerry backs were obviously given a licence to attack, sometimes being the farthest players forward. Gavin White does not need much invitation to explode forward, when his final touch or pass becomes more certain he will cause mayhem.
Monaghan came at Kerry in waves but the difference between the teams was that last year's beaten All-Ireland finalists had much more class up front. Conor McManus came on to add a sprinkling of magic for the home side but Kerry played the second half in a low gear, always doing enough to keep Monaghan at arms length.
So normal business resumes in the Kingdom. I would not think that many, if any, of their players voted against playing in that survey. Life is too short for opting out. They are looking for a big Christmas present. Let us hope that those with power have the wisdom to keep the games going.
At Parnell Park later, there was a chance to see if Dublin had emerged in similar rude health to Kerry from the lay-off. Their response in the early stages was their usual pace and power. Starting with ten of the All-Ireland team they blitzed Meath early on and at the first tea break it looked as if the game was done and dusted. The goal was a gift, a short kick-out went astray. Paddy Small intercepted, slid it to Dean Rock and he finished like Maradona.
But when Meath looked overwhelmed, they found something. Newcomer Cathal Hickey drove forward and Shane Walsh kicked a few great points. They were helped too by Dublin indiscipline, which was not evident in the past, and the last four frees were kicked over by Thomas O'Reilly.
John Small got involved in a lot of stuff, and a yellow card followed. He should have had a second for a late tackle on Bryan Menton later.
If Small skates on thin ice too often he will fall in again when his colleagues need him most to keep his feet dry.
So it looked like we were going to have a second half and Meath were on top early and got the deficit down to one with plenty of chances to level and create some doubts. Dublin seemed to play within themselves but Meath showed more fight than for a long time against Dublin and the margin did tighten.
The Dubs won't be particularly happy with this display. Some things don't change, and they relied on the big guns, Fenton, Kilkenny and history-maker Rock, who became the all-time top scorer for Dublin.
However, their defence was ropey, their tackling was indisciplined, they struggled with men running straight at them and high balls caused problems. Stephen Cluxton's (pictured) kick-outs were nothing like his usual standard. He won't sleep for three weeks after giving away so many and he was probably out at 8 o'clock this morning working to rectify the mistakes.
Meath, forced into a major reshuffle, will be happy with the likes of new players Jordan Morris and Cathal Hickey. However, they don't have a James McCarthy or Paul Mannion to come back or Brian Howard to start and somebody might be sent out to track down Jack McCaffrey.
They could do worse than pick up Mark Lavin from the under 20s on the way. He can play a bit and his interview as Gaeilge after the semi-final win over Tyrone was one of calm maturity. That Dublin under 20 team now play Galway in the All-Ireland final.
There is no shortage of talent coming along to fill a few gaps but last night's display by Dublin will give hope to Kerry, Galway and a few more.