Cooper: 'I didn't know if I'd get a chance again, so that makes it more pleasing and satisfying'
Naturally enough, Colm Cooper was the story of the latter half of St Patrick's Day in Croke Park.
Once a beaten finalist, three times denied in the semi-final, Kerry's most treasured current footballer finally got his hands the trophy that had evaded him in an otherwise regal and gold-spattered career.
"Look, I've been very, very open throughout my career," he reflected after Dr Crokes 1-9 to 1-7 victory over Slaughtneil.
"This was on my radar. I've come close. I've lost finals, I've lost semi-finals, I've done my cruciate.
"I didn't know if I'd get a chance again, so that makes it more pleasing and more satisfying for me having that ticked off.
"To do it with the guys that I've soldiered so long with and that I grew up with and went to school with, look, how can you describe that?"
Inevitably, he got Dr Crokes' goal yesterday, a typically sharp finish at a time when the Kerry team were trailing Slaughtneil.
By the end, he was the closest outfield player to his own goal, slowing and then controlling the pace of the game as the 14-man Derry side chased shadows.
Unavoidably, the cup had barely made its way inside the Dr Crokes dressing-room before Cooper was being asked about his next move. He had no definite answer, though the prospect of captaining Kerry again this summer would appear too enticing to walk away from.
"I've pretty much poured everything into this since we lost with Dublin out here in the semi-final last year," he explained.
"I poured everything into Dr Crokes because I knew there wouldn't be too many more opportunities for us again.
"I spoke with Éamonn at Christmas. I said, 'ye do your thing, I'll do my thing and we'll chat when the Crokes journey is over'.
"Look, I envisage that we'll talk in the next week or so and thrash it out and see where we go. I'm sure we'll come to the right conclusion."
SCORERS - Dr Crokes: C Cooper 1-2 (2f), B Looney, D Casey (2f) 0-3 each, M Burn 0-1. Slaughtneil: Paul Bradley 0-3 (3f), P Cassidy 1-0, C Bradley 0-2, F McEldowney, Shane McGuigan 0-1 each.
DR CROKES: S Murphy; J Payne, M Moloney, L Quinn; D O'Leary, G White, F Fitzgerald; A O'Donovan, J Buckley; A O'Sullivan, G O'Shea, B Looney; C Cooper, D Casey, K O'Leary. Subs: M Burn for O'Sullivan (40), J Kiely for O'Shea (40), T Brosnan for Looney (58), E Brosnan for Casey (63), C Brady for O'Leary (63).
SLAUGHTNEIL: A McMullan; B Rogers, P McNeill, K McKaigue; K Feeney, C McKaigue, F McEldowney; Patsy Bradley, P Cassidy; M McGrath, C Bradley, Shane McGuigan; Se McGuigan, C O'Doherty, Paul Bradley.
Subs: B Cassidy for O'Doherty (48), B McGuigan for Feeney (52), R Bradley for McGrath (52), G Bradley for S McGuigan (53).
REF: M Deegan (Laois).
aib all-ireland club sfc final: dr crokes 1-9 (Kerry) slaughtneil (Derry) 1-7