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Friday 9 December 2016

Dublin's delight as fans revel in Croker replay rollercoaster

Dublin fans; the Lathams from Donabate, and the Campbells from Balbriggan. All Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay: Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Dublin fans; the Lathams from Donabate, and the Campbells from Balbriggan. All Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay: Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of big queue going into Croke Park stadium (Hogan Stand) All Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay: Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Andy Gavin, from Tallaght, with son Jack, 3. All Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay: Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin
Jeff Kane, from Templeogue, and son Zak, 5. All Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay: Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin
Dublin footballer Ger Brennan, right, with his brother Derek. All Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay: Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin
Lucy Dawson, from Dublin 1, and Louise Archbold, right, from Lucan. All Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay: Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Dublin fan Daniel Dunleavy, 4, from Navan Road, Dublin. All Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay: Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin
Dublin fans Tara Teeling, from Skerries, and daughter Nishe, 14. All Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay: Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin
Jamie Scott, 7, left, and Jayden Connolly, 6, from Inchicore. All Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay: Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin
Brad Green, from Clondalkin, and Stephen Murray, right, from Drimnagh. All Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay: Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of big queue going into Croke Park stadium (Ard Comhairel, Premium and Box levels) All Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay: Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Lucy Dawson, from Dublin 1, and Louise Archbold, right, from Lucan. All Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay: Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of big queue going into Croke Park stadium (Ard Comhairel, Premium and Box levels) All Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay: Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Dublin fans celebrate after the match William Wayne and Joanne Butterly, from Swords, with children Aine, 11, and Eoin, 9. All Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay: Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Dublin fans PJ Thomas, 4, and sister Sophie, 3, from Swords. All Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay: Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Dublin fans celebrate after the match Niall O'Connor, from Whitehall, with his cousin Niamh McGinley and her daughter Cara, 3, from Knocklyon. All Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay: Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Dublin fan celebrates after the match Sean Cox, 9, from Athboy. All Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay: Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Dublin fans celebrate after the match Dublin Ladies Footballer Carla Rowe, left, and Marie White, from the Naul. All Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay: Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin
Dublin fans celebrate after the match Shane Peppard, with sons Clayton, 9, left, and Callum, 5, from Clondalkin. All Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay: Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin
Dublin fans celebrate after the match William Wayne and Joanne Butterly, from Swords, with children Aine, 11, and Eoin, 9. All Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay: Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Dublin fans celebrate after the win. front l-r; Owen O'Connor, from Sandycove, Kevin O'Shea and Liam McHugh, from Killiney. Back l-r; Sinead Fitzpatrick, Claire Whelan and Rachel Robertson, from Killiney. All Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay: Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Dublin fans celebrate after the match Pat Cahill, from Castelnock, with sons Reuben, 11, and Lenny, right, 8. All Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay: Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

From the depths of despair to the heights of success, Dublin fans experienced it all at Croke Park.

Shortly after 6pm on Saturday, it looked like Mayo would edge out the All-Ireland semi-

final replay after putting four points between the teams following the game’s first goal.

But then came the comeback, and in the end a Dublin victory to book a place in the All-Ireland final on September 20.

Former Taoiseach and avid Dublin supporter Bertie Ahern was buoyant about their chances in the final.

He told the Herald that Mayo did Dublin a favour ahead of the showpiece event.

“I felt sorry for Mayo because they’re up here every year and it’s tough for them.

“They did us a big favour, because we needed the extra match,” Mr Ahern said.

READ MORE: Eamon Carr: On a fine day, Dublin sent Mayo packing and took pole position in the race for Sam

Asked whether Dublin would now be favourites against Kerry, he smiled. “Not a chance, we’ve no chance against Kerry, but the rumour is that we’ll turn up anyway,” he said..

The former Fianna Fail leader commended Dublin’s “super-subs”.

“We played really well, we did smashing and there’s always a lot talked about the Dublin super-

subs, but they were brilliant on Saturday,” said Mr Ahern.

“Alan Brogan was outstanding and Kevin McManamon is always outstanding – it was a really good day and a really good match,” he added.

Other familiar faces among the crowd were President, Michael D Higgins, former Taoiseach Brian Cowen, and pro-golfer Shane Lowry.

Two-time All-Ireland winning Dublin defender Ger Brennan was doing his bit for his former teammates by “singing away” for the side from the Cusack Stand with his brother Derek.

It wasn’t all plain sailing for the Dubs though, with tension felt around Hill 16 in the early minutes of the second half as Mayo gained momentum.

But three goals in quick succession from the boys in blue and supporters soon found their voices with chants of “cheerio” to the Mayo contingent.

Supporters are confident of their team finishing the job against Kerry in two weeks time, but the clamour for tickets begins now, according to Niall O’Connor (41) from Swords.

“The demand for tickets in the club is going to be unbelievable,” said Niall.

“The phone calls for the replay started within a half an hour of the first match and it’ll be the same again this time,” he added.

He thinks the two Mayo games will have Dublin more than prepared for the threat of Kerry.

“I think we’re going to do it, we’re up to speed now, battle-

hardened and we’ll be too good for Kerry in the final,” he said.

Iconic Dublin supporter  Shane Peppard (30) from Clondalkin was painted in blue and leading the chants on Hill 16, along with his two sons Clayton (9) and Callum (5), who are confident of All-Ireland victory.

“It was outstanding,” said Shane.

“It was absolutely electric on the Hill. It was exciting stuff and I’m delighted we’re in the final.

“I don’t know how I’m going to get a ticket for the final now,” he added.

Stressful

Eoin Wayne (9) from Swords and his mother, Joanne Butterly were barely able to watch when Dublin went behind.

“It was very good, but stressful,” said Eoin.

Joanne said: “It was nerve-racking – terrifying – and when we went four points down I thought we were gone, but when we scored the second goal I could relax a bit.”

Killiney man Kevin O’Shea (24) told the Herald that the noise from Hill 16 and the Nally Terrace drove the team over the finish line.

“The atmosphere was unreal.

“We were on the terrace and it was unbelievable,” he said.

Claire Whelan (24) also from Killiney said after Saturday’s performance there was no doubt about Dublin winning the Sam Maguire Cup this year.

“Absolutely, no doubt about it,” she said.

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