Friday 15 December 2017

Blue heaven as Dubs rain supreme on glorious day in Croke Park

Simon Rackley and Lorna Collins, Blanchardstown.
Simon Rackley and Lorna Collins, Blanchardstown.
Jack Naughton, Donal O'Reilly, Stephen Naughton and Cathal O'Reilly.
Karla and Christy Murray, Killester and Aisling Deeney, Donneycarney
Croke Park, fans. Shay Doyle, Sean Nevins and Grace Hillard, Tallaght.
Croke Park, fans. Adam (8) and Martin Tynan, Drumcondra.
Croke Park, fans. Michael Brady and Evan Brady-Brown (8)
John Kelly and Alan Daly, Clondalkin.
Croke Park, fans. Jean O'Connor, Conor Morris and Colm Errity.
Shane (11) and Niall Duggan, Raheny.
Sinead and Liam Collins, Eoghan Moore and Tom Hanlon.
Sinead and Liam Collins, Eoghan Moore and Tom Hanlon.
Ethan McNally (11) with his grandad Sean McNally.
Conor Schwepp and Mark Wright, Swords.
Gary Reynolds and Rachel Dowdall, Cabra.
Paula and Luke (11) Swayne, Clondalkin.
Dubs Fans
Dubs fans at the game
Lucy Sleator and Dina Norman.
Clodagh Fox (9) and her dad Ivan, Portmarnock
Croke Park, fans. Karen Delaney and Maria Robbins from Tallaght and Mary Ryan, Islandbridge.
Ryan and Fionn Clinch and Jordan McGrath, Tallaght
Paul McIntaggart
Dubs Fans
Tony O'Hanlon
Jason Buckley and his children Callum (7) and Zara (13), Ashbourne.
Jane Stephenson, Tallaght.
Niamh Keating, Clontarf
Serena and Albert Hannon, Ringsend.
David Burton, Cabinteely and Christy Kelly, Deansgrange.
Bernard and Alan Brogan's family pictured at Croke Park yesterday.
Croke Park, fans. Joan and Ruth Coady from Raheny.
Jamie and Jenny Doyle.

Oh, what a feeling.

It began as a dry day, but soon turned to a heavy, constant downpour at Croke Park, necessitating the floodlights to be turned on to help 82,000 see which side would emerge from the frenzied storm whipped up on the pitch.

Just after 5pm yesterday, Stephen Cluxton illuminated the darkening skies as he lifted the glistening Sam Maguire Cup aloft to the acclaim of all clad in a drenched but beautiful blue.

It was the end of a long season for the legions of loyal supporters who were lucky enough to nab an elusive ticket for yesterday's All-Ireland senior football final.

READ MORE: 'I'm level with dad now' - Brogans delight at third final win

"It was unbelievable. The weather ruined it as a game of football, but it was great to see the Dubs on the right side of the result. It's fantastic to have another title," fan Conor Morris said afterwards.


"What a result, it was a great game. It was a bit tense when Cluxton missed a few kick-outs," he said with a laugh.

"It was an excellent atmosphere in the Upper Hogan and I was surrounded by a load of Kerry people, so it was great. We shook their hands and said we'll meet again.

READ MORE: O'Connell Street party for heroic Dubs today

"We were on edge, we had to stay four points ahead at all times because Kerry could have got a goal at any time, but we did it and that's the main thing," Conor added.

READ MORE: Famous faces turn up to cheer on the Boys in Blue

Ethan McNally (11), from Blessington, watched the game in Croke Park with his granddad Sean.

It was an extra-sweet victory for the youngster, who will be skipping school today.

"My teacher is from Kerry, so I'm looking forward to slagging her," he joked.

READ MORE: Beers at the banquet as All Ireland champions wind down in style on ‘day to be proud’

Meanwhile, Evan Brady Brown, an under-eights player with Raheny GAA, was thrilled to watch his club-mate Brian Fenton score the opening point for the boys in blue.

"It's his first All-Ireland so he's just delighted," his dad Michael said.

"We've been to all of the games except for the Leinster final because we were on holidays, so we've really enjoyed it."

READ MORE: Dubs' mascot Molly brings the team luck on the day

Cabra native Rachel Dowdall (25) brought her other half from Leitrim to the game - perhaps to show him what an All-Ireland final was like!

"It was incredible, it's my first All-Ireland final too, so it was amazing to be here. The Dubs just had it, you could see it from the start," she said.

"The Hill was amazing, the crowd is always phenomenal.

READ MORE: No dampening of the Dublin spirit as hundreds watch match outdoors

"I was surprised that Dublin didn't get a goal, they were well up for it for the whole game and I think they were threatening one from the very start.

"We won anyways and that's the main thing. It was all worth it in the end," she added.

"Nobody really stood out, they all played a great game. They were very settled on the ball," her boyfriend Gary Reynolds said.

As a neutral, he thought "Dublin wanted it more on the day".

READ MORE: Eamon Carr: Gavin's magnificent men and Hill 16's passion blew Kerry away

Grainne Smith, from Crumlin, also cheered on the team in Croker with her two pals.

"It was a little bit tense to start off with, but Dublin did what they did against Mayo in the last 15 minutes, they just brought the intensity level way up. When it needed to be done, they did it," she said.

Her friend Michelle Kelly, from Lucan, admitted that it was the atmosphere in the stands that sustained them as the rain continued to belt down on the Dublin 1 venue.

"The weather kind of ruined it, but the atmosphere lifted everybody up," she said.

"It was a long time coming, but Sam is coming home again. It was a fantastic game," dedicated Clondalkin fan Alan Daly said.

Joan Coady and her daughter Ruth, from Raheny, were looking forward to the celebrations as they left Croke Park under an umbrella last night.

"It's a shame about the weather but we won. It was fantastic," Joan said.

Jason Buckley, from Ashbourne, didn't mind the weather at all.

"Look, I'd take that rain any day, I'd take floods once we're champions," he said.


"I don't feel any pity for Kerry, with all the All-Irelands they have. They have enough of them. Keep the management team there and we'll get another couple out of that Dublin team."

As hundreds of people exited the stadium towards the city centre for the continuing celebrations, it was brollies and ponchos all round.

For some Kerry fans there was a sense that the rain may have cost them the game.

John Walsh, who was among the first fans to leave the stadium, said that the wet weather suited Dublin more, but admitted they were the better team for the 70 minutes on the field.

"It's going to be a long, wet journey home," he said, before warning the Dubs that the Kingdom would be back next year.

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