Weekly Photo Challenge: Faces

For this week’s effort I am telling the story of the last half-an-hour of yesterday’s All-Ireland Football Final between Kerry and Dublin. For this I am indebted (as always) to the camera in my mobile phone, and to a guest appearance by the Pause button on my Sky box.

A brief explanation of the game is necessary. Gaelic Football is our national sport, a tough, high-speed game which occasionally features tackles such as this ->

<- or this

or occasionally tackles like the one below:

Our other national sport is hurling, a game with similar rules but in which the players carry sticks. We Irish are tough.

Kerry are to Gaelic Football what Manchester United are to soccer or the Yankees are to baseball. They are the most successful team in the history of the sport, they have won four of the last seven All-Irelands and been beaten in the final of two of the others. Dublin were the star team of the 70s but have since won in just 1983 and 1995. Their rivalry goes back decades, though, and a win over Dublin is still one of Kerry’s greatest pleasures.

The only other thing you need to now is that kicking the ball over the crossbar earns you a point, and into the goal earns you a goal (well, it would, wouldn’t it) which is worth three points, so that a score of 1-06 to 0-08 means the first team is leading by nine points to eight. Oh, and Kerry are the team in green, Dublin are in blue.

To everyone’s surprise Dublin were leading by 8 points to 5 with 30 minutes to go. Their goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton was relaxed,

and their fans were relaxed, though unable to keep their hat on their head:

But Kerry are not Kerry for nothing (an apparently meaningless sentence which actually makes sense). They scored some points

and they scored some more

giving Tinman the opportunity to show pictures of pretty girls, an opportunity he rarely turns down.

With eight minutes to go Kerry led by four points to now it was the the Dubs fans who looked worried:

Very worried:

But suddenly, a Dublin goal!

The Dublin crowd went wild.

Both teams got to one goal and eleven points and with seconds to go (a match lasts 70 minutes and the ref had added two minutes of injury time) Dublin were awarded a free. Their long distance frees are taken by their goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton, who calmly placed the ball. The crowd watched anxiously

He ran up to the ball

And though this is not actually a picture of faces, sometimes a sea of raised hands can be just as expressive:

Seconds later the final whistle blew. Stephen Cluxton, now the hero who won the All-Ireland, celebrated wildly:

Formerly-Worried-Man couldn’t take it all in

and it was just too much for some Dublin fans:

The cup was lifted

The Dubs players celebrated

And Stephen Cluxton continued to celebrate too.

For every winner there has to be a loser. Even as a Dubliner I take no pleasure from the photo on the right. Colm Cooper, the Kerry captain, is the greatest player of this generation and I felt for him at the end.

And finally, as Alan Brogan celebrates on the field with his daughter, well you just can’t beat this:

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17 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Faces

    1. Tinman Post author

      Interesting videos, Nancy, you do feel as if you’re part of the game, wincing at a bad tackle, getting tense, feeling joy.

      Reply
  1. Pingback: A Complete About Face « Spirit Lights The Way

    1. Tinman Post author

      I’ve read it, Nancy, it’s a really passionate report from a really passionate fan, with some great pictures.

      Reply
    1. Tinman Post author

      I’d say we Dubliners are, Tilly, though Cork would be Kerry’s noisy neighbours.

      Cork play in red, though, while we play in light blue, so up the Dubs!

      Reply
    1. Tinman Post author

      Glad you liked it, I’ve been over at your match report too (Nancy has provided the link above, folks, have a look at the last photo in particular), it’s great to see people so devoted to smaller clubs. I used to bring my kids up to the field at the back of our house to watch a tiny team called Orchard United, now sadly gone.

      Reply
    1. Tinman Post author

      I’d love to try it, Kate, but I’m not sure I could control my language.

      (Tinman’s commentary on Sunday’s United v Chelsea game: “and Torres is through! He’s taken the ball around the keeper… he can’t miss…. f**k me, he has!”)

      Can’t see the BBC going for it.

      Reply
  2. speccy

    Tinman, take a bow, that is brilliant!

    Watching the highlights of the match was stressful enough, and I’m neither a Dub nor a Kerrywoman.

    I know nothing else about Stephen Cluxton than what you’ve shown us, but I’m fascinated 🙂

    Reply
  3. Pingback: faces | me, mine and other bits

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