Like the rest of Ireland, you may well be aware that this Sunday, September 21st, is the occasion of the Senior and Minor All Ireland Finals, at Croke Park in Dublin. Kerry, who are bidding for a historic three titles in a row, and their 36th title in all, play Tyrone, who are appearing in their 5th final since their first final appearance in 1986. Tyrone are going for their third win at this level, having previously won the famous Sam Maguire Cup in 2003 and 2005. Read on for more…
This is the 122nd final in the history of the competition and it’s usually held on the third Sunday of September. This year’s match is one of the most eagerly awaited finals in many years. What makes it more interesting is that the last two meetings in the All Ireland Championship between the two teams in 2003 and 2005 resulted in wins for Tyrone at the semi-final and final stage respectively. As such, it is agreed by many that they are the bogey team for Kerry, the true aristocrats of the game!
Come Sunday all the waiting will be over! Tyrone are also represented in the Minor Final, they will play Mayo, and this match starts at 1.30pm. Throw in for the Senior game is at 3.30pm. Both games are televised on RTE2 and BBC2 Northern Ireland, with match coverage starting at 12.30pm.
In a season littered with sending off controversies, poor weather, suspensions and great matches, this is the perfect face-off between the two counties, who together have won the last 5 All Ireland titles. Both teams have had to come through the Qualifier rounds to get to the final, as both Kerry and Tyrone lost their provincial crowns in the summer of 2008. However, both teams successfully availed of the qualifier series whereby all teams have a second chance of progressing, despite losing in their respective provincial campaigns.
2008 All Ireland Campaign for Both Kerry and Tyrone
You may have watched some if not all of the outstanding matches this year, featuring both teams, since the 2008 All Ireland Football Championship kicked off in May.
Tyrone – The challengers…
Tyrone, after losing to neighbours Down in an enthralling quarter final replay in the Ulster Championship, entered the qualifier rounds and accounted for the challenges of Louth, Westmeath, and Mayo, before facing the much fancied Dublin team in the All Ireland Quarter Final, just over a month ago at Croke Park. Tyrone made a mockery of the pre-match predictions, and ran out easy twelve point winners after a very impressive performance. The Red Hands, as you may be aware, is the county nickname for Tyrone, then used all of their big game experience under coach Mickey Harte, to run out comfortable winners over Wexford in the All Ireland Semi Final. Tyrone won on this occasion by six points, after a brave and spirited comeback by Wexford in the 2nd half. Injury and illness for two key players did not hinder Tyrone’s excellent first half performance, which you may have seen was the key to their comfortable win.
Tyrone have many players under the age of thirty, nevertheless with huge experience, and with many holding two All Ireland medals from their successful campaigns of 2003 and 2005. Renowned footballers such as Peter Canavan may have retired, but the team can call on seasoned campaigners such as Brian McGuigan, Brian Dooher, Ryan McMenamin, Sean Cavanagh, Ciaran Gourley and Phillip Jordan. You will probably have seen in the news that the 2005 Footballer of the Year, Stephen O’Neill has agreed to return to the Tyrone fold for the Final. A skilful and visionary player, he is a brilliant option to spring from the bench for Harte should he be required. Tyrone’s captain for the All Ireland Final is Brian Dooher.
Kerry – The Holders…
Kerry have had to use the qualifier route like Tyrone to reach this year’s final. After a humiliating Munster Final defeat to Cork (having opened up an eight point lead at half time), the Kingdom, as they are referred to by their supporters, skilfully accounted for the challenges of Monaghan, and Galway in the qualifier rounds. They then defeated Cork after a replay in one of the best games of the year. Leading by a staggering nine points early in the 2nd half, Kerry were pegged level by a spirited Cork side, however they used all their experience and acumen to snatch a vital late goal to run out four point winners. So Kerry are gunning for their third consecutive win – this year is actually their fifth all Ireland Final in a row since 2004.
The Kerry team has many of the legends of the game, including high scoring forwards Colm “Gooch” Cooper, Declan O’Sullivan, Kieran Donaghy, and renowned midfield maestro Dara O’Se and his tenacious brother in defence, Tomas O Se. Kerry welcome back also controversial captain Paul Galvin, who returns from a three month suspension for an altercation with a referee in an earlier game this year in the Munster Championship against Clare. It is unclear whether he has the necessary match fitness to start, if not, Tomas O’Se is the captain on All Ireland Final day for Kerry.
Find out more about the All Ireland Final build up and the GAA.
Croker is the place to be…
The Final will be played at the magnificent sporting theatre of Croke Park, which can accommodate 82,300 spectators. Located on Dublin’s north side, Croke Park Stadium is perfectly situated on the airport route from the city centre. It is close to Connolly Train Station, and Bus Aras.
Find out more about Croke Park.
After cheering your county with passion at Croke Park and a few pints afterwards, why not round off your trip by staying at one of the many quality Dublin hotels. There’s hugh demand for accommodation in and around the city though, so our advice is to book in advance.