cialis serif; font-size: small;”>Sean Grennan relives the day that Sam Maguire made its long awaited return to Dublin hands.
tadalafil serif;”>The Sunday before last saw two of the country’s top football teams contest the Senior All-Ireland Football Final in what was one of the most eagerly-anticipated matches the championship has seen in years. Both teams went into the match feeling that they were each in with a good chance of winning the biggest prize in Gaelic Football and taking the Sam Maguire trophy home to what they both viewed as its rightful home.
ailment serif;”>The match lived up to the hype and excitement that had been surrounding it for weeks. For neutral fans, it was one of the most exciting and best-contested matches in the championship in a long time. It was a far cry from Dublin’s semi-final showdown with Donegal in which the Ulster side were heavily criticised for their defensive and generally ‘boring’ style of play. Kerry meanwhile overcame a spirited Mayo team and ended up winning by a convincing nine points in their semi-final. Their talisman Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper gave a master class as he scored a massive 1-7.
It was no wonder then that Cooper was singled out as the man to watch as far as Dublin were concerned. And he did not disappoint. He racked up an extremely-respectable 1-3 in the final; enough to see him crowned as this year’s top scorer in the championship. This will have come as no consolation to the Kerry captain however, having eventually missed out on the title by a single point.
Stephen Cluxton was the man with the hopes of thousands of Dublin fans on his shoulders but he did not show this as he proved to be the coolest man in the stadium, scoring that single point that would end Dublin’s sixteen-year barren spell without a championship title. Although Kerry started very brightly with Cooper finding the net after nineteen minutes, it was Dublin who went in front at the break, leading by a point. If you’d told a Dublin fan in the 60th minute that they were going to be champions in ten minutes, you’d have been laughed at. Kerry seemed to be pulling away from Dublin as they managed to get four points in front.
However it was Dublin, with it’s strong UCD contingent including 3rd year Arts student Rory O’Carroll as well as graduates Michael Fitzsimons, Cian O’Sullivan, Michael Darragh McAuley, Alan Brogan and Barry Cahill that seemed to have the fighting spirit in them. Maybe it was the long wait that inspired them to finish the way they did or maybe it was the hunger of the young squad. Kevin McMenamin came on and changed the game for Dublin, finding the net in front of a packed Hill 16. With only a few minutes left to play, man-of-the-match Kevin Nolan scored his first ever championship point as if he was a seasoned veteran to level the sides. And the Dublin goalkeeper was summoned up by last year’s footballer of the year Bernard Brogan to take a 40 yard free kick and in doing so, ate up stoppage time and floated his kick right between the two posts to send the city into jubilation.