Right, time to face facts – the All-Ireland final is on this Sunday and sadly we’re not in it. For the thirteenth time, it’s a Kerry/Dublin final, with the Kingdom aiming to seal back-to-back titles for the first time since they last did so in 2007 and their 38th title overall while the Metropolitans are chasing their 25th All-Ireland and their first since beating us in the decider two years ago.
The first final they met in happened just down the road from here in Clonturk, Drumcondra, in March 1893 which (in the 1892 final) Dublin prevailed in by 1-4 to 0-3. Kerry got their revenge in the 1904 final, which was played in Cork, when they won out by 0-5 to 0-2. The final had moved to its permanent residence of Croke Park by the time the 1923 decider was played (in September 1924) with Dublin winning by 1-5 to 1-3 but the Yerras weren’t long settling the score for that one, winning the 1924 decider (played in April 1925) on an 0-4 to 0-3 scoreline.
There was a long gap to the next final, the 1955 one, which Weeshie Fogarty spoke about on Off The Ball the other night (audio here). If you haven’t heard this piece yet, then please do listen to it – it’s pure radio gold and a wonderful slice of social history, documenting an Ireland long since gone from us. Dublin may have brought the revolutionary thinking and tactics to that ’55 final but it was Kerry who prevailed in it, by 0-12 to 1-6. The picture above was taken that day – note what the premium seats at HQ looked like then.
Another twenty years passed until their next final meeting. The 1975 decider was the first of four final clashes between the counties in five years during the decade, with a young Kerry team toppling the champions by 2-12 to 0-11 in that first instalment. Dublin got their revenge twelve months later – winning by 3-8 to 0-10 – and beat Kerry in the following year’s semi-final too but when they next faced off in the final they met their doom thanks to Mikey Sheehy’s famous chipped free and Bomber’s three-goal fusillade as Kerry cantered in the rain to a 5-11 to 0-9 victory. The 1979 final was only marginally closer with Kerry triumphing over a waning Dublin by 3-13 to 0-8.
The rivalry resumed briefly in the Eighties but the Kingdom maintained their supremacy over their city rivals, winning the 1984 decider by 0-14 to 1-6 and the ’85 one by 2-12 to 2-8. It wasn’t until 2011 that they met again in a final when Dublin at last turned the tables on their country cousins, Stephen Cluxton’s late, late free securing a 1-12 to 1-11 win.
So, twelve finals over a period of 122 years, with Kerry enjoying an 8-4 lead in the head-to-head stakes. (All-Ireland stats, by the way, courtesy of Wikipedia). The bookies have Dublin as the very slight (10/11) favourites to prevail this time but if they do so it’ll be the first time ever they’ll have beaten the Kingdom three times in succession in the championship.
I’m really looking forward to being there at Sunday’s final, with thanks to Chill Insurance for making this possible by kindly sorting out a pair of tickets for me. I’m also finding it tough to call a winner from this one – though I plan to call it in a separate post later on – but what about the rest of you? Yerras or Jacks: who’ll do it on Sunday?
Who'll win the final?
- Dublin (53%, 132 Votes)
- Kerry (47%, 118 Votes)
Total Voters: 250