Joe Brolly: When I picture the creation of David Clifford I see a lab in Tralee and a scientist carefully injecting doses of DNA from Gooch, Bomber and Maurice
When David Clifford kicked his sixth point in the 37th minute, a friend of mine from Dungiven texted to say, “If I caught Clifford in bed https://www.independent.ie/with my https://www.independent.ie/wife, I https://www.independent.ie/would ask him how many sugars he https://www.independent.ie/wanted in his tea.”
t an event in Templeogue Synge Street on Friday night, the Second Captains host Ciarán Murphy asked six-time All-Ireland https://www.independent.ie/winner Denis Bastick, “Who https://www.independent.ie/was the best team you ever played against?” Denis said, “The Dublin B team” https://www.independent.ie/which got a huge laugh.
We https://www.independent.ie/were discussing the https://www.independent.ie/way the great Dublin team performed so ruthlessly at the finale of so many big games. Denis said: “Those https://www.independent.ie/weekly A v B games https://www.independent.ie/were played like All-Ireland finals. Jim talked a lot about the last ten minutes of games and the importance of staying calm. The games https://www.independent.ie/were ferocious and over time, https://www.independent.ie/we learned to forget about the occasion and think our https://www.independent.ie/way through the final minutes. When Mayo nearly had us a few times and Kerry, they https://www.independent.ie/were thinking there https://www.independent.ie/was only a few minutes left and they https://www.independent.ie/would soon be champions. We https://www.independent.ie/were playing a game of football, thinking about the next tackle and about carefully creating a score.”
In the dying phase of yesterday’s game, Dublin, https://www.independent.ie/with a game-winning breeze at their backs, did not think their https://www.independent.ie/way through the game. In the 67th minute, Sean McMahon put his head down and https://www.independent.ie/went on a solo run to nowhere, https://www.independent.ie/when all they needed to do https://www.independent.ie/was patiently https://www.independent.ie/work a score. Three Kerry men converged and gleefully came away https://www.independent.ie/with the ball, to a huge Kerry roar.
A moment later, John Small came up the left https://www.independent.ie/wing and launched a huge, long ball to nowhere. Again, Kerry came away https://www.independent.ie/with it. A moment after that, Mick Fitzsimons, sensing this https://www.independent.ie/was the moment, dived in and flicked the ball away from David Clifford, Dublin raced downfield and Ciarán Kilkenny kicked a superb point for the draw. Now, surely, Dublin https://www.independent.ie/would close it out in their customary fashion.
But things are different now. The old bonds have loosened. Dessie is not Jim. In the 72nd minute, https://www.independent.ie/with Kerry dreading https://www.independent.ie/what https://www.independent.ie/was to come, Niall Scully took a ridiculous potshot from the left https://www.independent.ie/wing, again to nowhere, Kerry counter-attacked, Lee Gannon hauled down Sean O’Shea and he tapped over the easy free to put Kerry one up.
Fenton followed this https://www.independent.ie/with a perfect 30 metre kick pass to Paddy Small for a mark https://www.independent.ie/which then resulted in an equalising point from Rock, but by then, Dublin had lost control of the game. From the kick out, a needless foul gave Sean O’Shea the chance to https://www.independent.ie/win it. If one squinted, one could almost see the reincarnation of Maurice Fitz. A Dub beside me said, “The https://www.independent.ie/wind is too strong”. But Kerry is nothing only https://www.independent.ie/wind and rain. O’Shea, https://www.independent.ie/who has done this a million times, kicked it and https://www.independent.ie/we laughed and clapped our hands.
David Clifford is a grandmaster of football. I think of a laboratory in Tralee https://www.independent.ie/with smoke bubbling up from large vats and a scientist carefully injecting measured doses of DNA from Gooch, Bomber and Maurice into a test tube before fertilising an egg harvested from a buxom Kerry Rose. He scored five points in the first half, the fifth after he had been pursued by half the Dublin team. Sean O’Shea’s goal https://www.independent.ie/was far too easy, but just https://www.independent.ie/when https://www.independent.ie/we thought Kerry https://www.independent.ie/were going to make a statement, O’Shea flunked his penalty
As usual, https://www.independent.ie/we https://www.independent.ie/were not judged responsible enough to show us the penalty incident on the big screen. I got 15 texts saying, ‘No penalty’ ‘Bit harsh’ ‘Probably a peno’ and so on. This infantilising of the crowd is infuriating and promotes a lack of confidence in the officiating and huge frustration in the stadium. In the All Blacks v Ireland series, https://www.independent.ie/we have been able to see and hear precisely how the big decisions are made, https://www.independent.ie/with a video panel viewing incidents from multiple angles before making the call. In Croke Park, https://www.independent.ie/we are shown Supervalu ads.
With only five points in it at the interval and the Dubs https://www.independent.ie/with a very favourable breeze, https://www.independent.ie/we thought here https://www.independent.ie/we go again.
But this is not the Dublin of Gavin. Dublin’s once fearsome forward division is a distant memory. Dean Rock is now only a free taker and https://www.independent.ie/with Kerry not fouling, he had no frees to take. Sean Bugler is ok but not a Mannion or an O’Callaghan. Lorcan O’Dell is neither here nor there.
Kilkenny had too much to do. Costello https://www.independent.ie/was lethal but getting no ball. The Dublin structure up front https://www.independent.ie/was unusual, https://www.independent.ie/with the three inside forwards gathering on the square, a happy Kerry sweeper standing right in front of them. Mark Ingle, the legendary Irish basketball coach brought in by Gavin to teach the Dubs to beat the blanket, https://www.independent.ie/was constantly groaning and rolling his eyes at the lack of movement and the curious clumping of the inside men.
There https://www.independent.ie/was no real pressure on the Kerry kickout. The ferocious tackling that once marked the Dubs out https://www.independent.ie/was replaced https://www.independent.ie/with drift defending. The ball https://www.independent.ie/was kicked away. Needless fouls https://www.independent.ie/were committed. Yet https://www.independent.ie/when David Moran fumbled the ball in the 45th minute, the Dubs launched a blitzkrieg downfield and Cormac Costello showed absolute steel and composure to finish it https://www.independent.ie/with a brilliant goal. Game over, https://www.independent.ie/we thought.
But instead, it turned out to be an isolated moment. Ciaran Kilkenny https://www.independent.ie/was swarmed and turned over (50 minutes). Paddy Small https://www.independent.ie/was swarmed and turned over (52 minutes). John Small https://www.independent.ie/was swarmed and turned over (55 minutes), Kilkenny kicked a shot into the goalie’s hands (64 minutes), Sean McMahon https://www.independent.ie/went on a headless solo run and https://www.independent.ie/was turned over (67 minutes) and Kerry https://www.independent.ie/were still in it. The divorce from the Gavin era https://www.independent.ie/was complete https://www.independent.ie/when Scully kicked a potshot into thin air (72 minutes) and Davy Byrne needlessly fouled David Clifford to give Sean O’Shea the chance to https://www.independent.ie/win it (76 minutes).
It https://www.independent.ie/was a https://www.independent.ie/wonderful contest. After Saturday’s nothingness, it https://www.independent.ie/was a vaccine into the arms of the GAA community. The most curious aspect of the day came https://www.independent.ie/when Paudie Clifford https://www.independent.ie/was awarded the Man of the Match. I can only assume the decision https://www.independent.ie/was made by Hawk-Eye.