Once more unto the breach
JUST before tea-time on Sunday, Dublin county board official, John Hennessy, walked back to the Parnell Park clubhouse with the Clery Cup. It would be getting a couple of extra night's B&B in Donnycarney.
It was the right result. Nobody deserved to lose. It was one of the best Dublin Senior Football Championship finals in decades.
It contained such a cocktail of quality – superb shooting, a terrific tempo and super skill. It was Dublin football at its very best.
The players showed Flatley feet and the potter's hands. And amid the speeding traffic, there was no lack of gentle craft.
Mossy Quinn threading a pass through the daisies, Diarmuid Connolly flicking on a switch, Alan Hubbard breaking down the right like the pocket rocket, and the smooth, silky speed of James McCarthy.
The crowd loved it. And now they'll get to see it all unfold again under the lights tomorrow night (7.45).
With five minutes left, photographer, Ray McManus, went to his end-of-match position. He hovered near the Ballymun bench. They looked to be sailing into harbour.
Dusk was tumbling on North Dublin. The flash from his camera could be clearly seen. And then Kevin Golden flashed the ball to the Ballymun net at the score-board end.
The Marino men were alive-alive-o. And on came the lights for the extra-time. And the intrigue continued. It had more twists and turns than a local by-election.
"It was exciting stuff," said the goal-scoring hero, Kevin Golden. "I'm sure it was a marvellous match for the spectators.
"Both teams worked very hard. It showed how much both of us wanted it. Credit our fellas, but fair play to Ballymun too. They are a fantastic team.
"At times we both looked dead and buried, but we each fought back to level it and then to take the lead.
"There was little or nothing between the teams.
"Both sides are very well coached and conditioned. It was a wonderful advert for Dublin football.
"And fair play to Dermo (Diarmuid Connolly). He showed great composure to slot over the equaliser. It was a real pressure kick.
"We are all looking forward to another crack at it now. There will be a full house, and whoever wins between the two of us will do Dublin proud."
Rubbing the Deep Heat into the legs became the priority on Sunday night. But both will be back dancing tomorrow night.
They just kept bouncing back up off the canvas. Character and class is a marriage made in heaven.
And it was such a sporting spectacle. The action just zipped along. It was theatre festival stuff.
Early on, Vincent's had to endure a Ballymun blizzard. But Vins eventually stretched into the socks and carpet slippers.
Nobody looked more comfortable than Gavin Burke, who hit six points from play. He scored the first point of the second half.
Connolly created it. He was wide on the left at the score-board end. He was almost in the corner. There were three Ballymun men around him. Yet he still managed to find a yard in the cul-de-sac to play the most delightful 40-yard cross-field pass to Burke, who sent it over.
They were level twice in the opening period. Ciarán Dorney flashed the ball across the Mun hall-door. Andy O'Brien hit the underside of the Vins bar
Three times they were level on the restart. Ten minutes before Golden's goal, Seán Currie made an excellent stop from Ruairí Trainor.
Derek Byrne went in where angels fear to tread to set up a point for Kevin Leahy, and three minutes into added time, Shane Carthy tied it up.
Both sides went into the dressing rooms. The word was that Vins now had the momentum. But champions listen to their own music.
Vins struck three points in the first period of extra-time. Mun produced three of their own thereafter.
And so the late, great debate ended even. On the terrace there was a mural of Kevin Heffernan.
One of his apostles, Big Brian Mullins, had come on the bike.
Like the rest of the Fair City, he's thrilled that he has another chance to head back to the Champs-Elysees tomorrow night.