The 2019 All-Ireland Football Final Replay Preview
Kerry and Dublin will have to do it all again after a pulsating game in the All-Ireland Final on 1 September finished with a 1-16 to 1-16 draw.
The replay will take place on Saturday 14 September and is sure to be another classic between the two heavyweights of the game.
The replay is now a much tougher game to call as the presumed Dublin victory didn’t materialise, stopped by a Kerry team unfazed by the team who haven’t lost a Championship game since 2014.
Finalists: Kerry v Dublin
Date: Saturday 14 September
Venue: Croke Park
TV Channel/Live Stream: RTE 2/Sky Sports Arena
Kerry and Dublin reinforced why they are traditional rivals of Gaelic football, as the two sides produced one of the best Finals in recent memory.
Not many had given Kerry a chance heading into the game. Dublin were chasing their firth successive All-Ireland and their thrashing of Mayo in the Semi-Final made them look unbeatable.
But Kerry had matched, and even bettered, Dublin and were minutes away from pulling off a shock victory. A Dean Rock score in injury time forced a replay.
Many key moments defined the game that had it all. Stephen Cluxton expertly saved Paul Geaney’s penalty in the first half, while he made a stunning finger tip save in the second half to deny Paul Murphy.
Johnny Cooper’s red card for Dublin after he repeatedly fouled Kerry marksman David Clifford changed the dynamics of the game and meant Dublin played a half and more with a man down.
Dean Rock had the opportunity to win the game for The Dubs in the seventh minute of additional time, but his free kick inched just wide.
Both teams refused to lose. Kerry were five down before turning the game on its head and taking a one point lead, while Dublin were minutes away from defeat with a man down but created six scoring chances in the final 12 minutes to put themselves a kick away from victory.
Sean O’Shea and Dean Rock kicked ten points each in peerless performances, while Jack McCaffrey was the man of the match with 1-3 from play. Jack Barry was superb in stopping Brian Fenton, while Brian Howard was excellent from wing-forward for Dublin.
In the end, nothing could separate the sides and forced only the second replayed All-Ireland Final this decade.
Despite the draw, Dublin again emerge as favourites with the bookies to take home Sam. Both Paddy Power and Ladbrokes have Dublin to win at 3/10, with Kerry at 10/3, while Paddy Power price another draw at 10/1.
Boyle Sports put the Dubs at 1/3 and Kerry 3/1, with another draw at 11/1. For Bet365, The Kingdom are underdogs at 15/4, with Dublin to run out winners on 1/4. Sky Bet have the reigning champions as 2/7 favourites, with Kerry at 10/3.
Dublin’s team will remain by and large the same but we could see a few changes. Michael Fitzsimmons can be expected to pick him David Clifford from the off, while there could be starts this time around for Cian O’Sullivan and Eoin Murchan.
Diarmuid Connolly may start. The St Vincent’s man came on with two minutes remaining in the first game, but he is a match winner and could be in the Dublin starting 15.
As for Kerry, Peter Keane will likely keep Tommy Walsh and Killian Spillane in reserve in an attempt to mirror their impact from the bench during the first game, which turned the game in Kerry’s favour.
Stephen O’Brien may be detailed to curb the influence of Jack McCaffrey. Jack Barry will once again pick up the task of nullifying Brian Fenton, while Gavin Crowley and Tadhg Morley will resume their roles of marking Ciaran Kilkenny and Paul Mannion.
The replay is a much tougher one to call. Most people assumed that Dublin would emerge as winners in the first game, but Kerry pushed them all the way and may have won the game but for better accuracy and decision making.
However, Dublin will still have too much for The Kingdom. Many key Dublin players did not perform and have another level in them, while Kerry may have reached their full potential already.
The Dubs have a second chance and they need no invitation to take it. Kerry may have missed their chance and will find it an almost impossible task to match Dublin once again man for man and score for score.
However, The Kingdom proved most of us wrong the first day and will not be run over by the Dubs. Expect a titanic battle between two of the best sides in Ireland with history on the line; a record 38th All-Ireland for Kerry or immortality for Dublin with the unprecedented Five-In-A-Row.