So, despite both of them being pushed hard by Ulster opposition this weekend, it’s going to be a Kerry/Dublin final this year.
Monaghan and, in particular, Derry made it hard going for their vaunted opponents but in both cases the favourites won out. This means that, for the first time since 2019, it’s a meeting of the game’s two biggest powers to decide possession of the Sam Maguire for the next twelve months.
That final three years ago – which was only decided after a replay – was won by Dublin, with the sting of defeat felt by Kerry that day made even more painful by the fact that Dublin were completing the fabled five-in-a-row, a feat the Kingdom, despite all their titles, had never managed to do. The Dubs, of course, went on to win a sixth All-Ireland in a row, this one at our expense, in the behind-closed-doors Covid Christmas final the following year.
Prior to their breakthrough All-Ireland final win over them in 2011, Dublin hadn’t beaten Kerry in the Championship since 1977 and the most recent time they’d got the better of them in a final was 1976. Since 2011, though, the Dubs have added final successes over Kerry in 2015 and again in 2019 so if they beat them in this year’s final that’ll be four decider victories over the Kingdom on the spin for them.
Kerry finally stopped the rot last year, their semi-final win over the Dubs then being their first Championship success over them since the 2009 All-Ireland quarter-final. But you have to go back as far as 1985 for the most recent time the Green and Gold have beaten the Jacks in a final. I was at Croke Park that day, we beat Cork in the Minor final which was the curtain-raiser to the Senior decider.
This year’s final is a hard one to call and, for the bookies at least, it’s close to a 50:50 contest, with Kerry favoured very marginally. It took a replay to divide them the last time they met in a final and last year’s semi-final was only decided deep in stoppage time.
So, in what’s likely to be an extremely tight tussle, which of them do you think will do it? Let’s test the waters with a vote on that.
Who'll win the final?
- Dublin (60%, 647 Votes)
- Kerry (40%, 426 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,073