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All-Ireland final: Dublin's drive for five is kept on hold by Kingdom

Dublin 1-16 Kerry 1-16

Rocky road: Dublin’s Dean Rock lines up the late free that would have sealed the All-Ireland title
Rocky road: Dublin’s Dean Rock lines up the late free that would have sealed the All-Ireland title
On target: Dublin’s Jack McCaffrey celebrates scoring a goal with Paul Mannion
Kerry’s Killian Spillane finds the net
Dublin's Jonny Cooper is shown a red card
Declan Bogue

By Declan Bogue

The only thing better than an exciting All-Ireland final, is two All-Ireland finals.

To put this epic draw into some sort of layman's perspective, a Kerry fan sitting next to the press box happened to take a look at his FitBit watch at the final whistle. It read 115 beats per minute, almost twice that of what it reads normally, he claimed.

The replay is slated for Saturday September 14, with a 6pm throw-in. As magical as these things can be, a Saturday night elevates it altogether.

So, the drive for five goes on. The narrative might hold that Kerry will never get a better chance after Dublin defender Jonny Cooper was correctly given a second yellow card for two rash challenges on David Clifford.

So much went The Kingdom's way. A brief list here; in the sixth minute, Sean O'Shea set up Paul Geaney for a sight at goal. His shot was low but was blocked by James McCarthy's knees.

On 12 minutes they were awarded a penalty when Geaney sent in a hanging ball towards Clifford. Cooper manhandled him around the chest and shoulders and David Gough threw his arms out wide to award a penalty.

Up stepped Geaney to drive to Cluxton's right but the Parnells man flung himself across to get a strong left hand there and tip it around the post. Was he off his line? Most certainly. Churlish to mention it? Have a look for yourself.

Dublin were struggling to secure their own kickout with Brian OBeaglaoich securing a break ball and Jack Barry - in as a late replacement for Killian Spillane - winning two clean catches in a row.

With Kerry producing such an aggressive press, there was always attractive real estate in behind and when Cluxton unloaded a delivery that was caught by Brian Howard, they worked it to Niall Scully to play a fistpass over the top. Once Jack McCaffrey had it, there was murderous intent and he crashed it beyond Kerry goalkeeper Shane Ryan.

Ryan did much better soon after when Con O'Callaghan wriggled free of Jason Foley to aim a shot that Ryan was saved. Points from O'Callaghan and four from Dean Rock - three from deadballs had them in a commanding 1-9 to 0-7 lead.

Then, everything changed. Kerry had been looking to get Clifford on as much ball as possible and when he used his body to shield a pass, Cooper grabbed him by the arm and took him down. No leniency; a second yellow. Courageous too. Sean O'Shea pointed the free and Kerry had all of half-time to get themselves sorted.

Manager Peter Keane retained Paul Murphy in a free role as deep-lying sweeper but all the other Dublin players were now matched up.

Murphy scampered up the pitch on the 41st minute to drill a high shot that Cluxton pushed onto the crossbar and Kerry caught another slice of luck when Tom O'Sullivan's tackle on John Small should have got a second yellow, but he escaped punishment.

If Keane was playing the percentages, his next sub would have been a replacement for O'Sullivan, but instead he sent on the wrecking ball that is Tommy Walsh. Their shape altered slightly as he came on for a back, OBeaglaoich, and gave them a more positive look.

But still Dublin, with Jack McCaffrey rampant, pushed themselves into a five point lead.

It could have been more when Paddy Small had a chance. His shot was going over the bar but Kerry goalkeeper Shane Ryan courageously decided to bat it down with a Dublin player coming in fast. The move then swept downfield through David Moran and he played an incredible pass to Walsh, the ball swerving to favour him against the defender. Walsh fed fellow sub Killian Spillane who just potted his shot in the corner of the net past Cluxton at the Hill 16 end like it was nothing, really. Game on.

Walsh kicked a wide. Then he kicked a point after coming out around on a loop. Moran again combined with Walsh to put O'Shea in an easy position and he tied the game at 1-14 each.

A loose ball was squirting about down the Kerry end of the field when Gavin Crowley left his trailing boot on John Small and Rock slipped over the free.

Back came Kerry with points from O'Shea, and a tricky effort by Killian Spillane.

Breathless stuff. Dublin manager Jim Gavin sent for heavy artillery in Cormac Costello, Diarmuid Connolly and Kevin McManamon. Brian Howard had a chance that everyone in the ground thought went over, but Hawkeye insisted it hadn't.

The game was set up for Connolly to seal as the Prodigal Son, but an effort from him tailed badly wide to ironic jeers. Rock with his 10th, levelled it again when he came around on the loop for a textbook Dublin score.

The final sequence of play came when both teams were scrapping for the ball. Both teams had a case for a free, but it was O'Shea's challenge on John Small that led Gough to whistle for a Dublin one. An impossible angle, Rock's hooked wide. That was all there was time for. Back again on Saturday week.

DUBLIN: S Cluxton; D Byrne, J Cooper, M Fitzsimons; J McCaffrey 1-3, J McCarthy, J Small; B Fenton, MD Macauley; N Scully, C O'Callaghan 0-1, B Howard; P Mannion 0-2, D Rock 0-10, 6f, 1x'45', C Kilkenny

Subs: P Small for Macauley (52m), E Murchan for J Small (58m), D Connolly for Howard (68m), C Costello 0-1 for Mannion (68m), K McManamon for Scully (71m)

KERRY: S Ryan; J Foley, T Morley, T O'Sullivan; P Murphy, G Crowley 0-1, B ÓBeaglaoich; D Moran, A Spillane; G White, S O'Shea 0-10, 4f, 3x'45', S O'Brien 0-1; D Clifford 0-2, P Geaney, J Barry

Subs: K Spillane 1-1 for A Spillane (45m), J Sherwood for White (50m), T Walsh 0-1 for ÓBeaglaoich (53m), J Lyne for Crowley (69m), D Moynihan for Barry (73m), M Griffin for O'Brien (78m)

Referee: David Gough (Meath)

Attendance: 82,300

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