Dubs edge All-Ireland final thriller
Dublin 1-12 – 1-11 Kerry
An injury-time free from goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton gave Dublin their first All-Ireland title in 16 years after an enthralling All-Ireland final at Croke Park.
Stephen Cluxton will go down in history as the first, and probably the only goalkeeper to kick a winning score in an All-Ireland final after an absolutely thrilling encounter at Croke Park.
Four points down with seven minutes to go, Pat Gilroy’s side showed unbelievable character to come from behind to defeat a Kerry side that looked in total control midway through the second half.
It was a final that you couldn’t take your eyes off for a second such was the level of tension present at headquarters and although it wasn’t always high on quality, it will go down as one of the most exciting deciders of modern times.
Dublin led by a point at the break, having limited Kerry to three scores in the opening half, a fantastic goal by Colm Cooper and two points from Declan O’Sullivan and Paul Galvin, who was brought into the fray after 25 minutes.
Kerry found it hard to break through Dublin’s defensive system, while Bernard Brogan (3), Alan Brogan (2) and Stephen Cluxton kept the Metropolitans ticking over with points at the other end.
Dublin picked up where they left off at the start of the second half, but with Bryan Sheehan and Darran O’Sullivan prominent, Kerry soon took control.
With seven minutes left on the clock they were four points to the good and all set to cruise to yet another title, until Kevin McManamon, who yet again had a dramatic impact when introduced from the bench, beat Brendan Kealy after a powerful solo run.
Kevin Nolan followed that with a magnificent point and Bernard Brogan pointed shortly after to put the Dubs in the lead. Credit to Kerry, they never gave up and levelled matters with a delightful Kieran Donaghy point from way out on the touchline.
As the game ticked into injury time, it looked for all the world as if we were going to a replay, until Barry John Keane brought down McManamon and Cluxton nervelessly tapped the ball over to send the Dublin faithful into raptures.
Interestingly, anyone venturing in the direction of the famous hostelry CopperFace Jacks should start queuing now as in his acceptance speech, victorious captain Bryan Cullen vowed that the team would pay it a visit later on.
Things could get a little wild in the capital tonight!