What will be telling is just departed Dublin manager Jim Gavin next step. Does he withdraw from public life, J D Salinger-style, never to practice his hard-to-define sorcery again? Or, does he do the circuit? asks
The Tuesday night after Donegal scraped through the 2014 All-Ireland quarter-final, Jim McGuinness crammed his players into a makeshift portable building at Donegal’s yet-to-be-built Centre of Excellence in Convoy.
Having wrestled momentum back from Dublin when managing to draw level on the stroke of half-time (this was the first time since the 15th second the Kingdom had stood on level terms with their opponents), Kerry found themselves on the backfoot once again when Eoin Murchan supplied the sole goal of this All-Ireland final nine seconds after the restart.
Genius, we have long known, is subjective and wears many faces. Whether it’s Messi riding tackles, Steve Smith knocking another century in the Old Trafford mud, or Sinead O’Connor reminding us all what it is to be alive, when we observe it, we can lose ourselves temporarily, unprepared for what we have just witnessed.
When Diarmuid Connolly sat back into the pocket, setting himself up for power fade with the outside of his right boot, in a similar way to Ronan O’Gara and the Grand Slam drop goal over a decade ago, I thought perhaps the story was written in the stars for the prodigal son to return home with the fattened calf.
In the 2017 Division 1 final, Kerry brought Dublin’s 36-game unbeaten record across League and Championship to an end. Next Sunday, they aim to prevent Jim Gavin’s men from extending their defeat-less Championship run to 36. Thirty-three Championship wins and two draws have brought Dublin to the brink of creating GAA history. Here are 15 facts and figures behind their remarkable five-in-a-row tilt:
I once heard a story about a wily old country school principal who liked to maintain a tight grip of the reins of the schoolyard every lunchtime — absolutely nobody wanted to get brought to his attention.
“We’ve got James McCarthy back on the pitch, Eoin Murchan, Jonny Cooper, Diarmuid Connolly’s back training with us, Rob McDaid is back, Peadar Byrne Ó Cofaigh is with the U20s, Darren Gavin’s coming back this week as well so there’s a whole host of players who are returning to play and then there is the squad themselves.”