Here's what Jeff and Kammy thought of the All-Ireland football final

Everyone's favourite sports punditry double-act have been blown away by the GAA, writes Denise O'Donoghue.

Jeff Stelling and Chris ‘Kammy’ Kamara have been travelling around Ireland to better understand how grassroots GAA clubs fuel the county championships, following a challenge from AIB.

They returned to Ireland for the third Sunday in September to commentate on the All-Ireland football final from Croke Park.

"I knew how fast a game it was going to be but what I wasn’t prepared for was the electric atmosphere and the sheer physicality of the All-Ireland final," said Jeff Stelling.

"You feel part of a special event before it even starts because it’s such a special stadium and the fact that the fans are integrated, that there’s no segregation, is amazing.

"At a Premier League game in England now, anyone who has bought tickets from a tout and finds themselves in the wrong section, fingers will immediately point and they’ll be removed, even if they’re completely harmless.

"The great thing as an outsider coming in is the speed of the game. There’s no time to celebrate when you score because the action’s back underway straight away.

"If somebody’s hurt there’s no rolling around because the game’s going to carry on without you. There is literally no pause for breath and that’s what makes the game as fast and furious as it is.

"Even though we had no allegiance to either side we couldn’t help but get wrapped up in it. By the end I was as gutted for Mayo as anybody else.

"These are amateurs but they’re as fit as any professional sportsmen. They have to be due to the sheer pace of the game and also because of the size of the pitch. It’s immense. The halves are shorter, time-wise, than football (soccer) but the pace is unrelenting so I’d imagine the pace the players are as fit as any professional football. Bearing in mind that they’re amateurs that is an achievement in itself."


Speaking about his experience at the All Ireland Final, Chris Kamara said:

"I didn’t get off-air on ‘Goals on Sunday’ until 12:28. So I had a motorbike pick me up, take me to Luton airport, the plane was on time and then when we landed in Dublin I had another motorbike ready to take me to Croke Park straight to the ground," said Kamara.

"It was a bit crazy, both drivers on the bikes were on a mission to get me there as quickly as possible. Coming through the crowd on a motorbike was great.

"Just as we came to the stadium a police bike came up beside us and flagged us down but when I lifted my visor he went ‘oh crikey!’ He knew the score, but it was fine! I got into the stadium at 10 past three and it was another 10 minutes before I got to the gantry but I made it!

"I’ve been to loads of matches in England and been to every single World Cup and Euros that England have been involved in since 2002 but the roar of the crowd beforehand was greater than any of those.

"The only thing I could compare it to is the roar before the first race in Cheltenham. There’s a noise that comes up and it was exactly like that yesterday and it was like that up and down throughout the match.

"If I could bring anything back to the Premier League from our time here you’d love to bring back the community spirit.

"When you see all the fans in together, the elation and the sadness and everyone sat next to each other. Kids crying and the other half of their family up there and giving it all that, that’s just incredible, you’d rarely find that in football (soccer).

"In Britain, as soon as the final whistle goes in a Cup Final you look to the ‘away’ end and the losing fans are gone, they’re not interested in watching what’s going on but yesterday the place was still three-quarters full when the Dubs were celebrating yesterday. That is very special."

The final episode of Jeff and Kammy’s Journey to Croker will be available here on Monday, September 25 at 5pm.


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