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Slick Dubs have edge in epic Croker battle

Dublin 0-22 Kerry 2-14

By Declan Bogue

Game of the year? Unquestionably.

Game of the decade? A case to be made for it. But wherever this win for Dublin ends up in the general classification, it will reverberate through Kerry history.

Just as Darragh ÓSé forewarned earlier in the week, they now become the Kingdom generation that could not beat the Dubs. In the weeks and months to come, players such as Kieran Donaghy, Marc ÓSé, Aidan O'Mahony, Bryan Sheehan, Darran O'Sullivan and Colm Cooper will consider their future.

None of them deserve a label like that, but don't expect any sympathy from a Dublin team who suffered multiple embarrassments at the hands of the Kingdom before Pat Gilroy arrived as manager.

The number of consecutive Championship defeats now stands at four - a new low for Kerry, a record for Dublin.

Kerry are good at retreating for the winter to learn lessons, but it is hard to know what more manager Eamon Fitzmaurice could have done here.

While the Kerry fans threw their programmes at referee David Gough after the final whistle, they would have had Kevin McManamon's high challenge on Peter Crowley on their mind. It should have been a free.

But Kerry had the winning of this in their grasp. It might not have looked like that when Dublin compiled the first four points in the first 12 minutes, and they were holding on tight when Philly McMahon - put through on goal by Bernard Brogan - produced a daisy-cutter heading for the bottom corner that Brian Kelly pushed away.

Gradually, Kerry came into it. Donaghy was at full-forward as expected, but it wasn't until the 25th minute that a delivery was sent directly to him, resulting in a Paul Geaney point.

On the half hour, they decided to push everyone up on the Dublin kickout and Stephen Cluxton swung a restart into the direction of Geaney. His pass fell to Donnchadh Walsh, who dished off to Darran O'Sullivan to finish to the net, sensationally levelling a game that they looked only reluctant participants in for long stretches.

While Cooper added another point from play, a speculative ball goalwards by Anthony Maher was guided to the net by the faintest of touches by Geaney's fist, sending the Kerry crowd into raptures and Cluxton into a dark rage. A Cooper free left Kerry inexplicably in front at half-time, 2-8 to 0-9.

With Dean Rock having one of those days from the dead ball, Dublin were businesslike in their recovery. A steal from Michael Darragh Macauley in midfield ended with a Bernard Brogan fisted point, while Rock and Bryan Fenton chipped in with points from play.

To encourage a bit more juice out of players, Fitzmaurice sent on James O'Donoghue for Donaghy, while Barry John Keane scored after a run in his first play after being introduced for Walsh.

Dublin brought on Paul Mannion, Paddy Andrews and Eoghan O'Gara.

A McMahon point signalled the final push for the line and Rock's ninth point of the day levelled things with four minutes of normal time left.

McManamon drove straight for goal. After coming to a stop following a hefty tackle he spun off the floor to point and give Dublin the lead in the first of the five injury-time minutes.

O'Gara drove inside and stuffed a shot into the hill to gain the lead once more.

Fitzmaurice made what he said was a 'tactical' substitution, sending on 36-year-old defender Marc ÓSé for Geaney.

Crowley was upended by a savage shoulder by McManamon, and then…

Diarmuid Connolly glided past a number of tacklers desperately trying not to foul, and bent his left boot around the ball, sending it in a glorious arc over the bar. There was just enough time for Bryan Sheehan to be upended in a spring for the Dublin goal.

That moment had been coming, when Dublin finally asserted themselves over Kerry. They keep finding a way. They just keep finding a way.

On September 18, they face a Mayo team that hunger for a win over Dublin, and an All-Ireland. Find a way on the third Sunday, and they can be spoken about as the greatest side of the modern era.


DUBLIN: S Cluxton; P McMahon 0-1, J Cooper, D Byrne; J McCarthy, C O'Sullivan, J Small; B Fenton 0-1, MD Macauley; P Flynn, K McManamon 0-2, C Kilkenny; D Rock 0-12, 7f, 2x '45', D Connolly 0-3, B Brogan 0-2. Subs: P Andrews for Flynn (46), P Mannion for Small (50), E O'Gara 0-1 for Macauley (60), M Fitzsimons for Cooper (67) C Costello for Brogan (71)

Yellow cards: McMahon (35), Connolly (73)

Black cards: Costello (76)

Red cards: 0

KERRY: B Kelly; S Enright, M Griffin, K Young; P Murphy 0-1, P Crowley, T Morley; A Maher, D Moran 0-1; A O'Mahony, D O'Sullivan 1-0, D Walsh; P Geaney 1-4, K Donaghy, C Cooper 0-5, 4f. Subs: S O'Brien 0-1 for O'Sullivan (39), J O'Donoghue 0-1 for Donaghy (50), BJ Keane 0-1 for Walsh (52), B O'Beaglaoich for Morley (57), B Sheehan for Maher (58), M ÓSé for Geaney (67)

Yellow cards: Donaghy (49), Crowley (57), Enright (65), O'Donoghue (76)

Black cards: 0

Red cards: 0

Referee: David Gough (Meath)

Attendance: 82,400

Goals 02

Points 2214

Wides 107

Frees awarded 1914

45s awarded 20

Yellow cards 34

Black cards 10

Red cards 00

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