DUBLIN are “absolutely in the driving seat” for the All-Ireland Football Championship replay with Kerry, according to RTE GAA analyst Kevin McStay. McStay was enthralled throughout the proceedings in Croke Park and said it was a “game for the ages”.
McStay told RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland: “It was a magnificent game. It was a marvelous contest and in the last 10 minutes the atmosphere was just incredible really. And we were in the neutral chair so imagine you were a partisan observer.
“But I suppose when you put the bottom line on it, Dublin are the fourth team now to go for the five-in-a-row and it still hasn’t happened. Did they give it a shot? Five points up in the last quarter, you remember the shot by Paddy Small.
“That would have put them six up. You’d have to say that would have been home and hosed. Kerry then started the comeback. It was a game for the ages. An incredibly enjoyable All-Ireland final.”
Boys in Blue are well-placed for victory in GAA replay
There was focus on the official in the build-up to the final, and as it transpired the frenetic nature of the game made it a challenging occasion.
For McStay, referee David Gough called the sending off of Jonny Cooper correctly and that formed part of a tremendous job done on the day.
“It was an outstanding performance in the most difficult of circumstances by the referee. I had a few chances to look back at the game. There is no debate about Jonny Cooper’s sending off. You have to have an understanding of noting offences in the game. If you don’t understand that particular rule then you can’t give a critique of the Cooper sending off. He was sent off for noting offences. He had accumulated two of them. He got a yellow. Then he accumulated his third noting offence and gets the second yellow.
You don’t like to see anybody sent off in a final
“That is the rule of it and it was perfectly executed. No quibble there. Thankfully it is a double yellow and he’ll play in the final so he’ll have the chance to redeem himself which is fantastic. You don’t like to see anybody sent off in a final.
“David Gough had a superb game. It was one of those high octane from the start All-Ireland finals.”
The teams will meet again on Saturday. September 14th and now the question is whether Kerry have left their best chance of stopping Dublin behind them.
The former Roscommon manager thinks Jim Gavin’s side have everything on their side now. He said: “The old rule of thumb is who has the most room for improvement and the answer is both teams. My sense would be Dublin have the greater capacity for improvement.
“I did think the match yesterday would be tight and I was surprised it was a draw.
“The replay from this starting point is Dublin are absolutely in driving seat and they could push on to have a much better performance in the replay and go on to finally, finally accomplish the five-in-a-row.
“I make them firm favourites for replay.”