Dublin v Kerry: Anyone who tells you who will win All-Ireland final is 'an absolute spoofer'

Dublin v Kerry: Anyone who tells you who will win All-Ireland final is 'an absolute spoofer'

By Peter McNamara

All-Ireland SFC final - Dublin v Kerry, 3.30pm, Sunday, Croke Park (Live on RTÉ and Sky Sports)

Even at this point in the week, people are probably blue in the face from reading a series of conventional All-Ireland SFC final previews.

You know the ones discussing Stephen Cluxton's restarts, those that question whether or not Cian O'Sullivan will actually play despite being named to start by Jim Gavin, how Kerry's midfield axis of David Moran and Anthony Maher may dominate. And so on.

Dublin v Kerry: Anyone who tells you who will win All-Ireland final is 'an absolute spoofer'

At the end of those previews verdicts and predictions, as is par for the course, will be rolled out.

After all, us Irish love a prediction or two.

Calling a game. Being right. Being wrong. Whatever.

However, to break from the norm somewhat, this piece looking ahead to Dublin-Kerry is going to be less conventional for two reasons.

First reason? Honestly? I can't call the outcome of this game for love or money.

And I'm not journalistically arrogant enough to create a case for choosing one side over the other for the sake of it when I wouldn't believe it myself and, therefore, be only fooling yours truly and those that read this.

The fact of the matter is I haven't the foggiest idea who will lift the Sam Maguire, if either captain will at all on Sunday.

And anybody that tries to convince you they do is either a dyed-in-the-wool supporter of the counties involved or, as Eamon Dunphy, I'm sure, would put it, 'an absolute spoofer'.

This match could represent one of those whereby hindsight is a wonderful thing and on Monday morning everybody is thinking ‘It all makes perfect sense now’.

Half of them will claim they saw it coming too. Jokers.

One element there is heightened confidence about is that both Bernard Brogan and Colm Cooper should play significant roles in the decider.

Dublin v Kerry: Anyone who tells you who will win All-Ireland final is 'an absolute spoofer'

After that, it's open season in terms of how this contest will pan out.

The second reason? In the height of the number-crunching and tactical debate a key component of All-Ireland final-day tends to get lost in translation.

'And what is that key element you speak of?,' you're heard asking.

The supporters.

Dublin v Kerry: Anyone who tells you who will win All-Ireland final is 'an absolute spoofer'

Is there a more unique day out than All-Ireland final-day for GAA folk? Partial or impartial the occasion is unrivalled.

And it is the people that invade Croker that create said occasion.

From the moment you wake on the morning of the game, if you've slept at all, to the moment the referee gets the encounter underway the butterflies in your stomach are growing and growing with each passing hour.

It'll be no different for all Dubs and Kerry people.

Dublin v Kerry: Anyone who tells you who will win All-Ireland final is 'an absolute spoofer'

Of course, folk of the Kingdom may snigger at the suggestion of nerves creeping in pre-match but then they don't have that 'cute' reputation for nothing.

In contrast to all of the Championship outings leading up to the September gunfight at the OK Corral, supporters remember every little detail of their All-Ireland final-day experience.

These are the ultimate standalone fixtures.

You might even see better clashes earlier on that season but there's not a hope you'll be able to recall the day as well as you will an All-Ireland final.

It's funny, even short, borderline irrelevant chats with your friends on those days can be rehashed in the aftermath.

As a Leesider, I've been fortunate enough to be to many All-Irelands both as a supporter and as a journalist.

It can safely be said not even having the privilege of covering them from the media section holds a candle to being in the Lower Hogan, Upper Cusack or, especially, the Hill free of the neutrality this job bestows upon you.

There will be people at headquarters attending their first ever All-Ireland final, some will have travelled from far flung places around the planet.

And to those that are, the advice is to focus on the occasion, not just the ball.

Be prepared though, there are fewer more taxing emotional rollercoaster rides you'll experience, especially if the match is as tight as it ought to be.

You'll be up and down from your seat like a yo-yo and your hands will be flailing around more often than a financial broker on Wall Street. Sometimes, it is truly hard to look too.

I remember distinctly, sitting three rows from the very back of the Upper Hogan in 2010 as Cork were taking on Down.

In final quarter Daniel Goulding was standing over a free kicking into the Canal End.

Dublin v Kerry: Anyone who tells you who will win All-Ireland final is 'an absolute spoofer'

Around us, other Leesiders were either peeping through their fingers or literally looking away.

If there is a winner tomorrow, for those supporters there is no better feeling.

It's truly indescribable but you'll still recognise it when it envelops you.

It's distinguishable, put it that way because you're after catching every ball in the air and swung a leg for every kick.

You're nearly as drained as the players are at the full-time whistle!

And let nobody, if your side has lost, console you with 'There's always next year'.

The reality is you might never be at another All-Ireland final again. That is unlikely, in fairness, for the Dublin and Kerry fans.

Still, for the individual supporter it's a possibility.

So take it all in and savour the occasion because, no matter what the outcome, it's a damn worthwhile experience.

It's absolutely unforgettable, in fact.

Enjoy every minute of the day.

Key players: Bernard Brogan/Colm Cooper.

Verdict: You tell me?

More on this topic

Five in-a-row captain Mary O’Connor backs Cork to ‘dictate’ on SundayFive in-a-row captain Mary O’Connor backs Cork to ‘dictate’ on Sunday

‘Who’s running the zoo here?’ asks Teddy McCarthy after being denied entry to Croke Park‘Who’s running the zoo here?’ asks Teddy McCarthy after being denied entry to Croke Park

Eamonn Fitzmaurice to stay on as Kerry manager for 2016Eamonn Fitzmaurice to stay on as Kerry manager for 2016

Traffic restrictions in place as Sam Maguire arrives back in DublinTraffic restrictions in place as Sam Maguire arrives back in Dublin

More in this Section

Jones hoping ‘Kamikaze kids’ Curry and Underhill will be fit to face IrelandJones hoping ‘Kamikaze kids’ Curry and Underhill will be fit to face Ireland

Pepe 'ready to have more minutes' in Liverpool game, says Arsenal boss EmeryPepe 'ready to have more minutes' in Liverpool game, says Arsenal boss Emery

MMA move for ex-England rugby playerMMA move for ex-England rugby player

Nkoudou leaves Spurs for BesiktasNkoudou leaves Spurs for Besiktas


Lifestyle

A parent coach says parents are often the best judge of how to care for their baby – and explains how they can learn to have faith in their intuition.Ask an expert: How can I know what’s best for my baby?

We take a trip down memory lane and check out what happened on this day in years gone by by looking back at some Irish Examiner front pages and highlighting other events which went down in history across the world.August 23, 2019: A look back at what happened on this day in years gone by

RP O’Donnell says it is hard to find anywhere better than Boston to show your family a great time as he returns to a city he used to call homeA family friendly holiday guide to get the best out of beautiful Boston

Leslie Williams sampled the seafood at Cavistons in Dublin.Restaurant Review: Cavistons - Charming staff, the freshest fish, solid cooking

More From The Irish Examiner