Intensity. Skill. Drama. And a whole lot of erratic refereeing. It had pretty much everything the GAA is known for. It wasn’t the most skilful of matches, but it had it’s moments and more importantly it washed away the horrible memories of the second semi-final. It went one way, then the other, before looking like it was going Kerry’s way by some distance, but in the end Dublin somehow dug deep and snatched number 37 from Kerry’s grasp.
No, the below isn’t the ECG of a Dublin fan in the closing stages, it’s the story of how the prices unfolded throughout a fascinating game that we’ll never hear the end of.
Pre-match: Kerry are the slight favourites at 4/6 in the build-up to the match and anyone who had to sit through Dublin’s turgid semi-final with Donegal will understand why. Despite having a reputation for choking on the big stage, the Jackeens aren’t totally out of the running at 7/4. The draw – or Operation Cha-ching as it’s known around the corridors of Croke Park – is rated an 8/1 chance.
20 mins: It’s very much the expected start to the game. Kerry, the grizzled veterans of many recent finals look comfortable on the big occasion whilst a Dublin team who’ve got into the habit of thinking the All Ireland football final is something you watch from the comfort of the sofa start with some anxious shots. After exchanging points, Darran O’Sullivan fires up the jets, surges from midfield into the forward line before passing to the Gooch who makes it look like a kick-around in Muckross Park by slotting the ball calmly past Stephen Cluxton. It doesn’t give the Kingdom a huge lead, but it looks like a big momentum shifter and Kerry are now 4/11 to claim Sam with the Dubs now out the 11/4.
Half Time: The Dubs fight back and rack up a few nice scores of their own. They go in for the break with a narrow lead, but the gloomy feeling that Kerry will come out strong in the second half. Jack O’Connor’s team are 8/11 favourites with Pat Gilroy’s men 6/4.
40 mins: It’s the Dubs who get the immediate benefit from the half-time oranges and they pull a few points clear of the Kingdom. They overtake Kerry to become favourites for Sam for the first time in the match and quite possibly, in the entire summer. 4/6 Dublin, 7/5 Kerry.
50 mins: Along with their ability to make every slight knock look like an unanaesthetised amputation that needs extensive
time-wasting treatment from the medical staff, Kerry have the fighting spirit to match their skill and they launch a methodical comeback. They chip away at the Dubs’ lead before establishing a lead of their own. They wrestle the favourites tag back off Dublin. 4/7 Kerry and 3/1 Dublin.
62 mins: Buy shares in Coppers!! Sell special souvenir ‘Dublin’s glorious victory’ edition of the Evening Herald!! Watch out the women of Coppers, the Kingdom look home and hosed. They put some daylight between themselves and the Dubs and with time running out and Dublin’s reputation as chokers still intact, there’s very little optimism in the Hill. Kerry 1/66, Dublin 33/1.
64 mins: Just when we’re expecting Kerry to see it out with a combination of keep-ball and phantom injuries that need the attention of the physio, Alan Brogan tees up Kevin McManamon who fires a low shot past Brendan Kealy. ‘Nice, but just another ill-judged reason to think you were close to beating Kerry’ most of the nation thinks before Kevin Nolan backs it up with the equalising point. It’s now Kerry 7/5, Dublin 5/2 and Operation Cha-ching is 2/1.
70+ mins: At this stage our GAA trader has suspended betting and is currently sobbing under the desk for fear of a Dublin win and subsequent massive Money-Back Special refund. There’s still time for Ger Brennan to stick his hand into the face of Donaghy and nearly ruin everything for Dublin, but they win the restart and set up the attack that eventually leads to Cluxton’s winning point. The Dubs go wild, sales of Dutch Gold are set to soar and the rest of the country braces itself for months and months of listening to stories about how great the Dubs are.