The journey from Strand Road to Austin Stack Park

Austin Stack Park in Tralee was the only place to be last weekend, providing the timely shot in the arm Gaelic football so desperately needed. It was the very best the game has to offer.

Long before throw-in, Liam O’Connor had the crowd on their feet with his accordion repertoire. There was a very real sense of this being an event more so than just another game.

It was like the day of a first communion in the house, everything must be scrubbed, polished, or painted in preparation for the big day. The Kerry County Board did something similar for the thousands of visiting Dubs and TV cameras on Saturday night. The pitch and ground were in great shape and they christened the newly covered terrace behind the old Mitchels goal, which was turned into a travelling Hill 16.

Once the game itself threw in, it quickly surpassed expectations. Two excellent teams playing the game the way everybody loves to see it played. It was fast-paced, north–south football, with little to no lateral hand-passing over and back across the field. There was some brilliant fielding, a great range of kick passing, big tackles, and some sublime score-taking in the 70-something action-packed minutes.

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