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.
<- 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:
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 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: