Preview: All Ireland SFC Final replay - Dublin v Kerry
Saturday September 14
All Ireland SFC Final replay
Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, 6pm
By Cian O'Connell
After the drama and draw another gripping game is anticipated.
So much intrigue surrounds this encounter with a brimful Croke Park set to provide an ideal backdrop.
What changes in personnel will be made? Can Kerry convert a greater proportion of chances? Will Dublin alter their 26? That is merely a small and brief selection of the questions and issues that continue to be debated.
Since David Gough blasted the last, long whistle following Dean Rock's late chance from an awkward free, the replay debate has been incessant. Dominating the agenda is whether Kerry have let an opportunity slip or if a gifted emerging team has learned valuable lessons.
That will become apparent on the Jones Road, but one thing is for certain Kerry aren't just travelling to this game armed with hope. Expectation is firmly attached too.
Commendable character was demonstrated when Kerry were under duress. Despite a smart start Kerry still trailed by five as the interval approached when Jonny Cooper was red carded.
It changed the complexion somewhat, but Dublin, a champion outfit, stayed focused and determined. Tommy Walsh's arrival and Killian Spillane's blistering goal shook Croke Park and from then to the finish it was all about survival.
The first instalment was hard fought throughout.
Undoubtedly Kerry were content that the influence of the majestic Brian Fenton was restricted, but the Raheny clubman is a footballer, who will relish summoning a response.
This is precisely the type of environment and stage players crave to operate on. So many developing Kerry youngsters flourished on September 1 and will benefit from the experience acquired in such a high stakes fixture.
Kerry enjoyed an encouraging opening with David Clifford prominent, Paul Geaney selfless, and Sean O'Shea stylish in attack.
Dublin, though, carried a threat also with Con O'Callaghan and Paul Mannion supplying glimpses of their considerable talent. Jack McCaffrey's remarkable raids from deep were another factor during an absorbing contest.
Indeed McCaffrey's first half goal was a memorable moment concluding a move commenced by a sharp Stephen Cluxton kickout which was beautifully gathered by Brian Howard.
High fielding was central to the narrative of the game with both teams eager to press and push up on the opposition kickout whenever that was a possibility.
Such daring and adventure meant much of the game was wild making it compelling viewing. Ultimately, though, Dublin responded after falling behind in the dying embers.
A clear sign of the dynamism and defiance which exists, but now everybody will monitor the tweaks made. Eoin Murchan's lively cameo illustrated the pace and willingness the Na Fianna clubman brings.
Walsh and Spillane both contributed handsomely for the Kingdom. Will one of them be included from the outset?
Peter Keane and Jim Gavin have seriously tough decisions to make. During 2019 Dublin have, as much as possible, curtailed drive for five chatter.
It isn't an area which interests them, but the steely focus is on reclaiming Sam Maguire.
Kerry, though, now have similar ambitions too. Fasten your seatbelts; this could go the distance. Again.
KERRY: Shane Ryan; Jason Foley, Tadhg Morley, Tom O’Sullivan; Paul Murphy, Gavin Crowley, Brian O’Beaglaoich; David Moran, Jack Barry; Gavin White, Sean O’Shea, Stephen O’Brien; David Clifford, Paul Geaney, Adrian Spillane.