And then there were two. Dublin qualified for a place against Mayo in the All-Ireland final after an epic battle with Kerry in arguably one of the best games of all times. As a neutral watching my heart missed the odd beat such was the excitement and tension, I can only imagine what it must have been like for supporters of both teams. You have to give Dublin credit for the way they came back after conceding some real sucker punch goals, and as I have always stated you need the odd decision or bounce of a ball to go your way to be successful. In my opinion this game hinged on three defining moments. First of all the placing of Cian O’Sullivan on Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper after half time. Cooper had run Ger Brennan ragged in the first half with a superb display, he was like a quarter-back orchestrating his team, he was simply untouchable, with O’Sullivan’s superior pace he was not nearly as effective in the second half. Secondly and most importantly the failure of referee Cormac Reilly to issue Johnny Cooper a second yellow card after a deliberate trip on namesake Colm, he would have definitely received a yellow had he not had one to his name already. Surely Dublin would not have survived with 14 men in a game of that intensity. Last, by no means least, after Declan O’Sullivan missed a glorious chance to put Kerry ahead in the 68th minute, David Moran and Marc Ó Sé challenged each other from the resulting kick out, Michael Darragh McCauley pounced on the loose ball to free Kevin McMenamin whose tame effort at a point went over Brendan Kiely’s head and into the back of the net. Game over. It truly was an immense game with some brilliant goals scored and some phenomenal build up play. It gives James Horan and co plenty to think about.
A great kick about for a great charity
On Saturday evening last I had the privilege of taking part in a fantastic fund raiser for cystic fibrosis organised by the Knockmore GAA club and club member Katie Moore. To say Knockmore do not do things in halves is an understatement. It truly was a momentous occasion and a huge crowd turned up to see a Mayo legends team against a rest of Ireland selection. I have to admit my limbs are still a little sore but before, during, and after the game my sides were sore from laughing. It was great to catch up with some former team-mates and managers and players from the ‘89 Mayo team. I felt I put in a reasonable shift, however the brain, foot, and hand co-ordination left a lot to be desired, and my touch is most certainly not what it used to be. Anybody I spoke to who attended remarked that they had a superb evening’s entertainment so congrats to all who took part, particularly the likes of Joe Brolly, Kieran McGeeney, Dessie Farrell, Senan Connell, and Bernard Flynn who travelled long distances for the cause, and I’m sure the coffers for the Cystic Fibrosis foundation have been boosted considerably. Note to James Horan - Padraig Brogan feels he can do a job for Mayo in the All- Ireland final. Remember his goal against Dublin in the semi-final in 1985!
Kilmaine and Kiltane do their stuff
I was in McHale Park on Sunday evening for the intermediate semi finals, I arrived at half time in the game between Parke and Kilmaine when the scores were tied at 5 points apiece. I immediately remarked that the team which played the second half with the strong breeze would win the game and so it turned out, Kilmaine scoring seven second half points without reply to secure a final place. The second game was a real ding dong battle for long periods with The Neale making all the early running, but goals win games. Mikey Sweeney’s deft soccer finish in the first half followed by Mayo minor Tommy “Goals” Conroy’s poachers instincts in the second half set up a very comfortable win for Kiltane. Lucky for Enda Gilvarry that his two minor stars, Kilmaine’s Darragh Doherty and Kiltane’s Tommy Conroy came through unscathed. The two semi-final favourites are rightfully through to the final. The final should be a real humdinger with Kiltane starting as justified favourites.