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Dublin vs Kerry live
Sunday, September 1,2013
Croke Park, 3.30pm
Semi Final GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship 2013.
Amid all the talk of history and rivalry, and the great games of the past between Dublin and Kerry, the significance of meetings between the pair can ultimately be boiled down to two important facts.
Kerry have won 36 All-Ireland senior football championship titles and Dublin have won 23. That puts them miles ahead of the next county on the roll of honour - Galway, with nine. In fact, Kerry and Dublin's combined tally of 59 All-Irelands leaves them just seven behind the combined total of All-Ireland football titles won by the other 30 counties on the island.
So they are the undisputed blue bloods. The aristocrats. Like Real Madrid v Barcelona and Manchester United v Liverpool in soccer, or Kilkenny v Cork in hurling, Dublin v Kerry is the ultimate glamour tie of the elite in Gaelic football.
The strength of their rivalry has been revitalised time and time again by epic championship duels. Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final will be the 27th time the counties have faced each other in the championship, and all but a handful of their meetings have been in either All-Ireland semi-finals or finals.
This is their fourth championship meeting in the last seven seasons. In the 2009 All-Ireland quarter-final, Kerry spectacularly returned to form with a 1-24 to 1-7 thrashing of Dublin. Pat Gilroy memorably described his team as being like "startled earwigs" in the opening blitz in which Kerry destroyed them.
Two years later though, it was a very different story. They met in the All-Ireland final for the first time since 1985, and Gilroy's Dublin were a very different force from the side of two years earlier. Kerry looked to be heading for another All-Ireland title with less than ten minutes to go, but Kevin McManamon's goal changed everything and Stephen Cluxton's injury-time winner from a free has since passed into legend.
In the aftermath of that remarkable game, most of the focus was on the city's joy at ending a 16-year wait to win the Sam Maguire Cup. Naturally enough, Kerry's pain didn't make too many headlines. But what a pain it must have been. Leading an All-Ireland final by four points with 64 minutes played, Kerry were in total control but from nowhere, it slipped from their grasp.
For men used to winning like Colm Cooper, Declan O'Sullivan, Paul Galvin and the Ó Sé brothers it was a horrendous way to lose an All-Ireland final, and whether they admit it or not, Sunday's game is a huge chance for Kerry to exact revenge for that most bitter of defeats.
Kerry forward Darran O'Sullivan said earlier this week that as that game was in the past, it was probably best left there.
"Obviously you want to get one over on them because they beat you in an All-Ireland final. At the end of the day they won that game, they beat us fair and square and they have the medal for it," the Glenbeigh man said.
"We’re not going to change the history of that game. It is about playing this game on its merits. They are one of the top teams in the country so we know we’re up against it."
While hopes of revenge may well be resident in many of the Kerry players' hearts, plenty has changed for both teams in the last two seasons, and it means achieving it is a very daunting prospect.GAA Gaelic Football :: Gaelic Football can be described as a mixture of soccer and rugby, although it predates both of those games. It is a field game which has developed as a distinct
game similar to the progression of Australian Rules. Indeed it is thought that Australian Rules evolved from Gaelic Football through the many thousands who were either deported or emigrated to Australia from the middle of the nineteenth century. Gaelic Football is played on a pitch approximately 137m long and 82m wide. The goalposts are the same shape as on a rugby pitch, with the crossbar lower than a rugby one and slightly higher than a soccer one.
Dublin have been outstanding all season, in what is Jim Gavin's first year in charge. They defeated Westmeath, Kildare and Meath on their way to the Leinster title, recording a stunning average winning margin of 13 points in the process. They looked very comfortable in their win over Cork in the All-Ireland quarter-final, and never really looked like losing to the Rebels.
They won the Allianz Football League title earlier this season, ending a 20-year wait for the crown, and their results in that competition included a 1-11 to 0-4 win over Kerry in Killarney on February 10.
That game was during Kerry's dark early season period, when they were well beaten in their opening four Division I matches. That all seems a very long time ago now, and it's worth keeping that period in mind when considering how Éamonn Fitzmaurice has fared in his debut season as Kerry boss.
They ended up staying in Division I thanks to some excellent results at the end, and breezed through Munster, with the second half of the Munster final victory over Cork the only time they wobbled in the province in 2013. Although they were far from at their best in the All-Ireland quarter-final win over Cavan, they got the job done, and it's an impressive thing to say that a team that was being heavily criticised back in the spring is now one of just three teams left that can win the All-Ireland.
"In Kerry, unless you win the All-Ireland it's considered a bad year so you have to live with that," said Fitzmaurice recently. "I was there as a player so I know the pressures that are involved and the expectation levels that are there."
Looking to the tactics briefly, and there has been much media speculation this week that Colm Cooper may switch from the forty into the corner for this one. He is named at 11, but perceived weaknesses in the Dublin full-back line have lead to suggestions that he should be deployed closer to goal. As it stands, Darran O'Sullivan, Declan O'Sullivan and James O'Donoghue are the three men inside.
The absence of Killian Young and Aidan O'Mahony through injury leaves a relatively inexperienced Kerry defence, and certainly Sunday will be a huge day for the likes of Shane Enright, Fionn Fitzgerald, Mark Griffin and Peter Crowley. However, the presence of Marc and Tomás Ó Sé at right-full-back and right-half-back is massive.
For Dublin, there should be no major changes to a side that has had a very consistent look all season. The main selection issue is in attack, with Paddy Andrews, Dean Rock and Bryan Cullen all contending for selection in one of the six forward berths. All three bring very different qualities to bear, so whoever is selected - and where they will be selected - could be significant to Dublin's gameplan.
Regardless of those nuances though, Sunday should provide another compelling chapter to the GAA's most enduring story.
KERRY: B Kealy; M Ó Sé, M Griffin, S Enright; T Ó Sé, P Crowley, F Fitzgerald; A Maher, J Buckley; P Galvin, C Cooper, D Walsh; Darran O'Sullivan, Declan O'Sullivan, J O'Donoghue
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