John Leonard: “I don’t want this book to read as a celebration of drugs. The reality is I lost my mind a lot of times. I was very close to losing friends and losing sanity.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

“That’s a tricky one,” laughs John Leonard when asked which felt better: being E’d out of his head on countless nights in the Kitchen and other venues(...)

Dublin’s Brian Fenton: the midfielder follows up his man-of-the-match award in the All-Ireland final with a first All Star nomination. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Although there is no place for either Paul Flynn, who has been an All Star for the past four years, or captain Stephen Cluxton, who has not been no(...)

 Dublin’s Cian O’Sullivan celebrates with the Sam Maguire trophy: “It might seem like times are good now but you have to make the most of the opportunities.” Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Minutes before Dublin’s defining game of the season and Cian O’Sullivan couldn’t be sure. From the moment he was helped leave the field after strainin(...)

Kerry’s Colm Cooper battles for possession with Philly McMahon, a player who performs better when he’s getting under the opposition’s skin. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

I was standing in the tunnel at one stage on Sunday as the Kerry players walked past me. Some of them were guys I had played with, won with, lost with(...)

Dublin manager Jim Gavin. In pursuit ofsuccess he had to recast Dublin as ateam that could embrace a more formidable defensive approach while  still posing a threat at the other end. Photograph: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

It wasn’t just the sight of Dublin and Kerry contesting an All-Ireland final that gave Sunday a back-to-the-future atmosphere. The incessant ra(...)

Cian O’Sullivan: despite a recent hamstring injury, he was deemed fit enough to play and, as it transpired, he executeed the sweeper role to perfection. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho 2:03

The season ends with the mid-winter adjustments made by Dublin returning them to All-Ireland success. The weather completely dominated the game and(...)

Dublin captain Stephen Cluxton and manager Jim Gavin with the Sam Maguire trophy on O’Connell Street. Photograph: Inpho/Ryan Byrne 2:03

“Dublin. The city that fought an empire” was the message on a fan’s T-shirt at the homecoming for the victorious Dublin senior footballers. The GAA(...)

Dublin’s  Philly McMahon and Kerry’s Colm Cooper.  Photograph: Inpho/James Crombie

In the end, the year came together perfectly for Jim Gavin and Dublin. But only on this, the last day. A comfortable league title, another easy Leinst(...)

 Kieran Donaghy appeals for a penalty after a clear drag down by Rory O’Carroll. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Some All-Ireland finals are the complete football spectacles, and this wasn’t one of them. Conditions didn’t help and the game struggled to come al(...)

Kerry substitute Kieran Donaghy battles in the Dublin square for a high ball with Rory O’Carroll and Johnny Cooper in the All-Ireland final at Croke Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

The deluge came from the skies rather than in front of the Hill goalposts but as dusk fell across the city last night, nobody cared. Dublin won the(...)