At half-time last Saturday I still felt Kerry were well in with a shout of winning the game.
It was 10-all going in at the break, but you also knew that Dublin had a big opening period to the second half in them.
Spectators weren’t even back in their seats for the second half before Dublin had a decisive goal.
Eoin Murchan ran straight down through the middle and he took it like a corner forward would.
Kerry managed to bring the deficit back down to a point after that, but then Dublin went into another gear to close it out. It never looked for one second that Dublin were going to lose it after their goal.
That strike for Murchan was a massive bonus for the Dubs. Goals win games. If you have any chance of beating Dublin, you must score goals against them and Kerry couldn’t manage it.
Dublin got a dream start to the second half and it was hard for Kerry to recover from there.
Moran was right not to pull down Murchan
People have asked, ‘should David Moran have pulled down Eoin Muchan’ before he scored the goal?
But, if he pulled Murchan down, Moran would have been black carded and a massive loss to Kerry.
He did about as well as he could to get back at Murchan, who is a seriously quick player. It was such a hard one for Moran to decide what to do in that split second. He is one of those players that has a great grasp of the game.
People will say that Con O’Callaghan’s one was a black card, but by the letter of the law, it wasn’t. It was a clumsy challenge and it prevented a Kerry shot on goal, but it wasn’t a deliberate pull down.
That’s what makes the black card so hard to interpret.
That was a clear, clinical foul, but for it to be black you have to pull him all the way to the ground. It’s after raising its head a few times this year and it’s something that needs addressing over the winter time.
Kerry won’t regret the drawn game
Players will dwell more on games they lost, than draws. When you lose an All-Ireland final you always reflect on the ‘what ifs’ from that game.
They can be a hard one to sallow, the Monday and Tuesday after losing a final is a tough place to be.
You can’t bring yourself to watch the game for a while. On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, they’ll show the final again and as a player, you’ll say ‘oh Jesus, not again.’ But, once they go back playing with their clubs they’ll soon forget about it and find a bit of comfort in that.
They’ll be back in the gym then in the two or three months’ time and the mindset with change to next year then. When you do eventually watch the video back, you’ll find some positives and negatives to take from it and hopefully, you can learn from them.
After that, Kerry need to close the book on it and move onto 2020.
Dublin can be stopped
If you look at Dublin’s wins over the last few years, the margins they’ve won by have been very tight.
But, Dublin learn from games so quickly. Look at last Saturday’s replay and the Mayo one before for evidence of that.
Jim Gavin usually gets his match-up spot on.
Dublin have the players to keep it going, but teams are catching up. Kerry and Mayo are for sure. To beat them you must go man-for-man though.
They are beatable, but you must do it on the day against them. You just can’t give Dublin a second chance. They are just one of those teams that will not wilt, and they are here to stay for the next 10 years.
That’s why they are the top, but Kerry’s performances in the two finals will give other teams a lot of hope that Dublin can be toppled. I still believe they are beatable.
Dublin/Kerry rivalry is here to stay
It’s great for the game to have Dublin and Kerry set to go at it over the next few years.
Dublin and Kerry are ahead of the pack now though, and they are both very young sides. Dublin are just hitting their peak and this young Kerry side are coming right in behind them.
Peter Keane is in a great position after this year, he brought so many young players through onto the Kerry senior team.
He’ll have seen between 25 to 30 players that he’s used throughout the Championship and what they have to offer the county.
A lot of those will have had a taste of playing Dublin in two All-Ireland finals.
These guys will have no fear and they’ll come back hungrier than ever.
I already can’t wait for when Dublin and Kerry meet in the League next year, I’d say it will be interesting – to put it mildly.
Gaelic Football needs this rivalry too. We’ve been playing second fiddle to the hurling in the last number of years, but not this year.