Sensational finish seals one-point win for jubilant Dubs

Dublin 1-12 Kerry 1-11

Sensational finish seals one-point win for jubilant Dubs

Dublin 1-12 Kerry 1-11

The Dubs staged a sensational finish to win their 23rd All-Ireland football title and their first since 1995.

Goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton was the late, late hero, converting a stoppage time free to deny Kerry a 37th title in a gripping decider at Croke Park.

The Kingdom appeared to be heading for yet another triumph when they led by four points with seven minutes to play.

But super-sub Kevin McManaman fired home a brilliant goal, and Pat Gilroy’s brave warriors finished with a fiery flourish.

It was the first time since 1976 that Dublin defeated Kerry in an All-Ireland final, and the celebrations will continue in the capital for some time.

Declan O’Sullivan fisted over an early Kerry point, but they struggled to break free from a tenacious Dublin attacking unit for the remainder of the first half, with one exception which Colm Cooper punished with typical brilliance.

It was in the 19th minute that Darran O’Sullivan slice through the Dublin rearguard with searing pace, slipped the ball quickly to his captain, who beat Stephen Cluxton with a perfectly placed finish with 10 yards.

Earlier, Alan Brogan had punished slack defending with a couple of well executed Dublin points, and after conceding the goal, the Metropolitans’ defence regained their composure to snuff out Kerry’s attacking threat.

The Kingdom managed jus tone oiint in the final 19 minutes of the first hall, a late effort from Paul Galvin, who had come on as a sub in the 24th minute.

After Kieran Donaghy moved from midfield to full forward, Dublin started to get on top in the central area, and mounted a series of attacks.

Alan Brogan fired in a shot on goal, but was denied by a stunning Brendan Kealy save. And Donaghy was also denied a goal by Cian O’Sullivan’s courageous block.

The Dubs were growing in confidence, and their handling and movement of the greasy ball was becoming more assured

Goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton stroked over a 50 metre free, his 11th point of the championship, and they pushed further ahead with two Bernard Brogan efforts.

Dublin led by 0-6 to 1-2 at the interval, and surged further ahead with points from Bernard Brogan and Denis Bastick.

But Kerry stepped up the tempo, and after Bryan Sheehan had tapped over a free, Donaghy soared high to field Tomas O Se’s route one delivery, and with a goal at his mercy, he fisted over the bar.

Cooper brought the sides level for the third time from a 45th minute free, but the Kingdom had a let-off when Bernard Brogan slipped in behind Killian Young, but his angled shot dipped just wide at the far post.

Kerry’s vast experience began to tell, and the value of an accurate place-kicker was emphasised by Bryan Sheehan, who stroked over a ’45 and a free, as well as thumping over an excellent effort from play.

Cooper also nailed a free as Dublin were punished for a rash of clumsy challenges, and the Kingdom eased into a four points lead with seven minutes to play.

But the game took a sensational twist in the 64th minute when Dublin dragged themselves back into it with a superb goal.

Alan Brogan made the break, off-loaded to Kevin McManaman, and the substitute skipped past Declan O’Sullivan and fired low past Kealy.

The sides were level for a fifth time a minute later when wing back Kevin Nolan split the posts from distance.

And in a gripping finish, Cluxton kept his cool to make history as the first goalkeeper to score an All-Ireland final winner.

Huge crowds of supporters are expected greet the team in Merrion Square at 7pm tomorrow evening.

Kerry: B Kealy, K Young, M Ó Sé, T O’Sullivan, T Ó Sé, E Brosnan, A O’Mahony, A Maher, K Donaghy (0-2), B Sheehan (0-4, 2f, 1 ’45), Darran O'Sullivan, D Walsh, C Cooper (1-3, 0-2f), Declan O’Sullivan (0-1), K O’Leary.

Subs: P Galvin (0-1) for O’Leary, BJ Keane for Walsh, D Bohan for Brosnan

Dublin: S Cluxton (0-2, 2f), C O'Sullivan, R O'Carroll, M Fitzsimons, J McCarthy, G Brennan, K Nolan (0-1), D Bastick (0-1), MD MacAuley, P Flynn, B Cahill, B Cullen, A Brogan (0-2), D Connolly, B Brogan (0-6, 4f).

Subs: P McMahon for McCarthy, K McManaman (1-0) for Flynn, E O’Gara for Cahill, E Fennell for Bastick

Referee: J McQuillan (Cavan).

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