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This past weekend witnessed the All-Ireland Gaelic football final where Kerry and Dublin came face to face in Croke Park to battle it out for the Sam Maguire cup. Despite being the capital, Dublin has been cast to the sidelines for these games since the 70′s, despite wins in ’83 and ’95.
Kerry, the Kingdom, have won more all-Ireland football titles than any other county with a total of 36 wins since the tournament began in 1887. They were also hot favourites going into this final. However, Dublin shocked everyone, besides possibly David Hickey, by coming out on top by a point with a score line of 1-12 to 1-11.
Mimicking the intensity of last years final where the Rebel county, Cork, beat county Down by the same one point margin. It looked like Kerry were cruising casually home with yet another win, with Cooper playing as convincingly as ever.
When Dublin’s fresh legged substitution, Kevin McManaman, scored a great goal in the 64th minute, quickly followed by Kevin Nolans point a minute later putting the sides even for the 5th time in the game. After that there was no doubt that the final minutes would contain a battle of fitness, nerve and hunger.
The winning score came from a free taken by the Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton. Well deserved and well taken. From a man who has picked enough balls out of his net over the past few years, to becoming the first goalkeeper to get the winning score in such a final. A testament to the hard work which this man and his team put into their training in order to come out on top on sunday.
It was truly a fight to the last minute, in a game that could have gone either way but was finally run out by the extra bit of fitness in Pat Gilroy’s mens legs. Dublin’s 23rd win will surely resonate through the county as the celebrations continue into the forseeable future.
As will the images of the delighted Garda embracing the players as they leave the stadium, and Thin Lizzy’s ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ through Hill 16.
Image Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/kman999/