It was the match everyone wanted to see between the two oldest rivals in the game, and this generation of Dublin and Kerry footballers did not disappoint. The players shook off nostalgia by serving up an exciting, rough-and-tumble game that ended with a wondrous point from Kerry super-sub Maurice Fitzgerald.
Eight points down with only ten minutes to go it seemed as if the game was over, but Dublin staged the comeback of this year's championship. A well taken goal from Vinny Murphy gave the blue half of Semple Stadium an outside hope of a renaissance, and a great run and point from an otherwise inconsistent Ciaran Whelan drew Dublin even closer.
With only a minute to go, Wayne McCarthy, who had only come on as a substitute, launched a speculative free into the box, which Darren Homan punched into the net to give Tommy Carr's side a one point advantage with just a minute of normal time remaining. But two minutes into extra time, super-sub Maurice Fitzgerald topped off a dramatic finale by scoring a wonder point from the sideline to give Kerry's fans another day out and the GAA another big pay-day.
Dublin enjoyed the lion's share of possession in the first half, and two of the worst goal misses ever witnessed on a Gaelic pitch epitomised Dublin's poor attacking display in the first half. In the 25th minute, Colin Moran embarked on a mazy run through the Kerry defence, but a poor return from a one-two with Dessie Farrell wrong-footed the U-21 star who somehow –managed to miss an open goal with his first-time left foot effort.
But Dublin's blues did not end there. A few minutes before the interval, Dessie Farrell managed, quite unbelievably, to miss from less than four yards with an open goal in front of him, the crossbar this time coming to the Kingdom's rescue. Another dreadful miss from Declan Darcy just before half time summed up Dublin's attacking ineptitude.
Kerry's forwards were, in contrast, lethal with limited possession. By half time the Kingdom were five points up after a fine goal from Aidan MacGearailt and two well executed points from Man of the Match, Johnny Crowley. In the second half Kerry pulled ahead with five points from free-taker Dara Ó'Cinneide and a trio from Brosnan, Crowley and MacGearailt.
The game seemed to be over, until the normally stoic Dublin manager, Tommy Carr, ran onto the field, stood toe-to-toe with referee Michael Curley and hurled abuse at the Galway man for what he felt was yet another soft free. Then Vinny made his usual grand entrance – swapping shoulders and punches with some of the Kerry defenders – before scoring one of the most important goals of his career and beginning the Dub's great revival.
D Byrne; S Ryan, P Christie, C Goggins; P Curran, J Magee, P Andrews; C Whelan, D Homan; E Sheehy, I Robertson, C Moran; D Darcy, D Farrell, J Sherlock.
D O'Keeffe; M Lyons, S Moynihan, M McCarthy; T Ó Sé, E Fitzmaurice, T O'Sullivan; D Ó Sé, D Daly; E Brosnan, N Kennelly, A MacGearailt; MF Russell, D Ó Cinneide, J Crowley.
Meanwhile, Cork won this year's All-Ireland Junior Football championship after they defeated Mayo 1-15 to 3-07 in Ennis this afternoon.
Filed by Neill Reilly