Irish Examiner view: Greatness unfolding

Irish Examiner view: Greatness unfolding

 Brian Howard of Dublin in action against Paul Towey of Mayo during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Dublin and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Picture: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Last week RTÉ broadcast Christy Ring: Man and Ball, a tribute to one of the greatest hurlers of all time. The eulogy celebrated Ring's great skills, competitiveness and eight All-Ireland medals. That last detail has a particular resonance in his native county, one that has not won an All-Ireland title in 15 years. 

The documentary, in that county, provoked a wistfulness for long-gone great days and left the obvious question hanging in the air: how might they be made real again?

 Though in a different code Munster's great win in Stade Marcel Michelin on Saturday gave a valid answer, their old, reliable one — to those with belief anything is possible.

Greatness and belief came together on another stage on Saturday when Dublin beat Mayo — their fifth All Ireland loss since 2012 — to win their sixth All Ireland title in a row. This is uncharted territory, especially as it marks an achievement beyond anything even the great Kerry teams of the 1980s or Brian Cody's Kilkenny hurlers achieved. It is clear too that as an achievement this ranks well beyond Ring's eight medals as it is built on concerted efforts of scores of people involved in the Dublin story.

There are, naturally, naysayers who mutter that Dublin's resources make them all but unmatchable but that argument ignores the fact that resources are no more than an opportunity that must be realised.

The Ring documentary was an invitation to indulge in nostalgia, to pine for a lost hero. Dublin's sixth was an invitation to admire greatness as it unfolded, a gift we should not underestimate or take for granted.


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