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‘Roscommon will make things tough for Connacht challengers’

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I was on duty for Radio One sport last Sunday, alongside Donegal’s Martin McHugh and host Darren Frehill.

Sun, sea, and the odd football game

The four provincial winners have eventually been decided with Dublin and Donegal winning their respective finals in Leinster, and Ulster joining Kerry and of course Mayo. I was in a very precarious position last Sunday at 1.30pm, sitting in 30 degrees of heat by a gorgeous pool in the Algarve, do I stay or do I go to watch potential opponents for Mayo. There was only one winner, I left the swimming pool as I would have been uneasy sitting, wondering what was going on. I happened to meet former Breaffy player Robert Fahy and two of his kids who were there for the same reason as myself, we wanted to see if the Dubs were beatable as most people felt Meath were the team to do it.

So it’s the Dubs for us

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.

 

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