Preview: Allianz FL D1 Final - Dublin v Kerry
Sunday April 9
Allianz Football League Division One Final
Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, 4pm, Live on TG4
By Cian O'Connell
Regardless of the venue, occasion or what is at stake Dublin and Kerry always carries intrigue.
Inevitably the past, present, and future will be hotly discussed. Presently, though, Dublin are the standard bearers, a 36 match unbeaten run in the Allianz League and Championship merely a reflection of their class and composure.
This spring, though, Dublin have been examined in several matches, but Jim Gavin’s team continue to find answers.
Last Sunday in Clones was the ultimate case in point. Monaghan, with Jack McCarron a potent threat inside, had Dublin deep distress.
The Dublin response was swift and stylish, Bernard Brogan and Jack McCaffrey announcing their arrivals into the contest as substitutes with two goals crafted by brilliant approach work.
Dublin’s depth remains one of the chief reasons why they are such a formidable team – Brogan, Diarmuid Connolly, McCaffrey, Paul Mannion, Cian O’Sullivan, and Michael Darragh MacAuley were the replacements they used against Monaghan.
Eric Lowndes continues to develop, while Niall Scully and Conor McHugh have flared to prominence in this campaign – ready, willing, and able to contribute to the Dublin cause.
Kerry, though, enter this decider following a surprisingly comfortable success over Tyrone – Mikey Geaney’s early goal set the tone in that match.
Eamonn Fitzmaurice has repeatedly highlighted the fact that so many youngsters have sampled action in the first four months of the year.
That is an undoubted boost for Kerry, who have claimed three All Ireland minor titles on the spin with the current Under 21 team ending a nine year wait for EirGrid Munster glory too.
Talented footballers are being constructed in Kerry, but Fitzmaurice’s demanding task is to integrate them at the highest level.
Fitzmaurice nearly pulled off a dramatic All Ireland Semi-Final win against Dublin in August, a thrilling tussle went the distance, but Dublin were still standing at the end.
Kerry warriors such as Aidan O’Mahony, Marc O’Se, and Colm Cooper are no longer on the inter-county beat, but the Kingdom will still hit the capital believing that a trophy can be attained.
In 2015 Kerry were the last team to defeat Dublin in League or Championship with the intense March 18 stalemate between the teams a raw and physical encounter.
Dublin, though, similar to what they have done against Tyrone and Monaghan during the 2017 League finished powerfully to avoid defeat.
Since 2011 Kerry have lost two All Ireland Finals, an All Ireland Semi-Final, and an Allianz League Final against Dublin. That is a cause for Kerry concern.
Kerry want silverware and to make a statement. Dublin crave to stay perched on the summit of the game. Let the battle recommence.
KERRY: Brendan Kealy; Fionn Fitzgerald, Mark Griffin, Ronan Shanahan; Peter Crowley, Tadhg Morley, Paul Murphy; David Moran, Anthony Maher; Jonathan Lyne, Michael Geaney, Donnchadh Walsh; Kevin McCarthy, Paul Geaney, Stephen O’Brien.