Hill 16 swayed with delight as Dublin overcame a stern challenge from old rivals Kerry in Sundays All Ireland football semi-final on a score line of 3-18 to 3-11.
This game had all the hallmarks of a classic and it proved to be one of the best games in modern day football. Dublin has been talked up to the last this year and they went into the game as favorites, but Kerry was never going to be a push over.
Michael Dara Mcauley busted through the Kerry back line within minutes and blasted just over the bar. It set the benchmark for the game, fast and furious. Within the first 5 minutes, James O’Donoghue rattled the Hill 16 net for Kerry which put the score line at 1-2 to 0-3. A superb ball played by Gooch Cooper. Gooch was out to play and the Dublin defense looked baffled especially Ger Brennan, who really wasn't at the races at all.
The start was fierce and competitive and Meath referee Cormac Reilly was letting play run which added to the games pace. The Hill 16 were shocked once again as Colm Cooper fired a splitting ball into Walsh who finished calmly. 2-2 to 0-3. Dublin’s defence was looking cagey and becoming increasingly ill disciplined. But they soon settled as Mannion hammered a punch to the ball into the Kerry goals. O’Donoghue, Gooch, Bernard Brogan and Ciaran Kilkenny all pointed back and forth until have time. Dublin looked in trouble. Half time Kerry 3-5 to Dublin’s 1-9.
Dublin was never going to take this lying down, and in my own thoughts I felt they were going to blitz Kerry’s goals. Ger Brennan was having a dismal game on Colm Cooper and his discipline was letting his team down. O’Sullivan was moved onto Cooper and Brennan made way for Bastick. The half started in a rather cagey manner. Both teams traded points through Galvin and Cooper to Brogan Rock and Andrews. The tension was at its maximum.
47 minutes in, Brogan, Andrew’s, Brogan and Connolly all hit the mark within 5 minutes and Kerry now trailed 3-8 to 1-15. The hill was singing and Kerry looked exhausted, but the fought on. It began to go back and forth between the two teams and it was all square as Diarmuid Connolly equalised on the 67th minute. In steps Mc Manamon.
He appears as a sub regularly for Dublin and is a fine player. 69th minute Mc Mananmon unchallenged whacked a curling ball over the Kerry goalkeeper and set the Hill a light. Kerry were finished. 3-11 to 2-17. The tails were up now and Connolly added a further point. Kerry pushed hard for another goal but 4 would have been a task especially at this late stage. Cluxton was struck in the face by Maher who subsequently trudged off for a second yellow offence. The game finished with a sweet shot that struck under the crossbar from O’Gara.
Eamonn Fitzmaurice had is tactics down to a tee and this ageing Kerry team threw the kitchen sink at Dublin. But this is where through quality that people speak when speaking about Dublin mean. 20 points apiece after a tough physical encounter and then Dublin hit 7 points. The score line truly does not reflect Kerry’s efforts. They’d be foolish not to keep on Fitzmaurice.
Mayo has a lot of work to do. Dublin will face Mayo on the September the 22nd in the 2013 All Ireland Senior Football Final.