We don’t exactly know what’s going to happen on September 14 but we figure there is a better chance of predicting what won’t
On the Irish Examiner All-Ireland final preview podcast last week, former Dublin forward Ray Cosgrove spoke of how the players have a major say in who they mark on any given day. Cooper may be the team’s vice-captain and he will all but certainly start the next day but by being dismissed for a third foul on Clifford, he has taken any marking decision out of his control. Jim Gavin won’t put his hand out to be smacked a second time.
No proverbial, Sherlock (more about him in a second). After scoring 1-2 off him, McCaffrey won’t expect the Kerry captain to be assigned to his wing in 11 days and, being truthful, White has a job on his hands holding onto his position for the replay having been dropped for the semi-final. It may be a case of Stephen O’Brien switching to McCaffrey’s side although that could blunt the half-forward line a little. Brian Ó Beaglaoich stepping into that role with somebody like Jack Sherwood moving to wing-back to tag Brian Howard could be a wiser switch.
That Barry lasted as long as he did was a surprise given his lack of match fitness but what he had in the tank was used up on Sunday as he helped Kerry win the middle third battle. Dublin will identify that as an area where they struggled and Michael Darragh Macauley could lose out as a result. But Barry won’t be going anywhere after another game when he helped to negate Brian Fenton’s influence.
Lane takes charge of the replay and his native Banteer’s close proximity to Rathmore might raise an eyebrow or two in the capital just as David Gough’s relationship with Dublin did in Kerry prior to the drawn game. That the refereeing decisions were so telling on Sunday means there will be words about the officiating in the build-up. It being a replay, there will be increased tension between players. But Lane can handle the heat.
There is nothing sacrosanct about a named team anymore and for replays, the teams almost beg to be altered at late notice. Against Mayo in the 2016 final replay, Gavin made three late changes to Mayo’s one. For Kerry’s last replay, the 2017 semi-final against Mayo, Éamonn Fitzmaurice made three. We would put money on both announced line-ups changing by the 5.30pm cut-off point on Saturday week.
The amount of equivocation on the Dublin sideline on Sunday had to be seen to be believed. Diarmuid Connolly was set to be introduced earlier than he eventually was and Philly McMahon was being readied to be brought on too. The injury to John Small didn’t help matters but there didn’t appear to be the same usual clear-mindedness that defines Gavin’s thinking. He won’t be fooled again.
Paul Mannion flew from the traps with two points and would have had a third had a free not already been awarded seconds earlier to Con O’Callaghan in the second half. Still, he was not his usual self while O’Callaghan only managed a point. Dean Rock did kick two from play. At the other end, Paul Geaney was scoreless and David Clifford only picked off two from five or six chances. Finishers of that ilk won’t be so subdued next time around.
A lot of attention had been brought to the fact Bernard Brogan and Eoghan O’Gara again missed out on the Dublin panel but then Seán Bugler and Eric Lowndes were removed from the semi-final squad with Darren Daly and Peadar Ó Cofaigh Byrne taking their place. In the Kerry 26, David Shaw was replaced by Mark Griffin. There is plenty of time for bolters as there is for some freshness in both replay panels and we may not have seen the end of Brogan or James O’Donoghue this year.
The 6,000 tickets distributed between Cork and Galway (who contested the minor final) will now go to Dublin and Kerry with a large number of children from those counties benefiting from discounted tickets. If anything, Saturday week could be louder.
The minor final going to extra-time meant everything thereafter was squeezed and so Phelim Drew combined with Liam O’Connor for a rousing rendition of ‘Dublin In The Rare Auld Times’ before throw-in. Where was the Kerry song, we asked. With no curtain-raiser for the replay, there’ll be enough space in warming up the crowd to put things right.