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Dublin: 3°C Friday 4 December 2020
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The weather, the case for the defence and the rest of today's final talking points

It was a blue Sunday once again at HQ.

The Dublin team celebrate their title win.
The Dublin team celebrate their title win.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

1. Tight and tense but Dublin richly deserve success

ON A DOG of an afternoon, a grim All-Ireland final spectacle broke out. The wretched conditions contributed to a game littered with errors, players handling mistakes and wayward passing attributable to the bad weather.

A low-scoring game concluded in a welter of tension and excitement with only three points the margin separating the teams. But ultimately Dublin triumphed and they richly deserved this success. They adapted better to the conditions, they ground Kerry down and they chiseled out the spoils in a battle.

2. Defence a stand out for the champions

The weather may have transformed this game into a lottery and ensured it would be a day of toil for forwards. Yet Kerry still chalked up 0-18 in the rain against Tyrone and only managed half that total today.

That’s a testament to Dublin’s defensive performance. Collectively they were outstanding in closing down the space at the back. Any concerns about Cian O’Sullivan’s hamstring injury hurting their aspirations never materialised.

They kept a clean sheet and apart from one Darran O’Sullivan drive under pressure that flashed wide, Kerry didn’t pepper a blast of shots at Dublin’s goal. Building from the back served Dublin well.

3. Dublin’s goal chances

For only the second time during Jim Gavin’s reign in charge, Dublin failed to hit the net in a championship outing. The previous blank was against Donegal last year but unlike that game, the failure to hit the rigging today did not kill Dublin.

They weren’t short of chances mind. Dean Rock drilled a shot early on that Brendan Kealy blocked and then in the second-half Kealy denied Bernard Brogan’s booted effort, Brian Fenton smacked a shot against the post and Paddy Andrews banged one narrowly wide in front of the Hill.

A goal could have made it more comfortable viewing for Dublin but that black mark didn’t prove fatal.

4. A memorable day for Alan Brogan

Paddy Andrews and Alan Brogan celebrate Dublin's Paddy Andrews and Alan Brogan embrace at the end of the game. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Dublin’s 2014 season ended in sadness and no one encapsulated that more than Alan Brogan. His tearful state after that loss to Donegal created speculation over his inter-county intentions. But after uncertainty in the opening months of 2015, Brogan committed to the Dublin cause once more and the season ended in the best possible fashion. His game time has been restricted this summer yet today’s cameo saw him sprung from the bench in the 66th minute.

And it was he who floated over the left-footed point that sent the Hill into delirium and ensured the 2011 Footballer of the Year would win his third All-Ireland medal.

5. Three All-Ireland titles in five years

After a 16-year drought was ended in 2011, Dublin’s football fraternity celebrated riotously. But they haven’t rested up after that breakthrough win, pushing on and capitalising from the impetus of that success.

Today marks a third All-Ireland crown in five years and confirms the greatness of this current bunch. Dublin have built on the springboard of underage triumphs and maximised their resources to ensure a spell of dominance. They’ll cherish this.

Who deserves the man-of-the-match award in today’s All-Ireland final?

‘He’s a big part of the leadership group’ – Gavin lauds Philly McMahon after defence stands firm

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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