Streets of Dublin bask in September sunshine as footballers bring home Sam
Big screen in Smithfield square attracts 5,000 fans
Mayo and Dublin fans at the free screening event of the All-Ireland football final at the Smithfield Plaza in Dublin yesterday. Photograph: Stephen Collins.
The streets of the capital were bathed in glorious sunshine all day as the city forgot its woes, donned the blue jersey and settled in for another punt at Sam.
Nothing beats the support Dublin football enjoys and there was a tangible sense of anticipation from early morning. Shopkeepers draped flags across windows and publicans filled their cellars. The atmosphere was warm and jovial. This wasn’t a final between bitter rivals and some Dublin supporters had even been whispering in hushed tones during the build-up that begrudging Mayo yet again might actually be a bit much.
Dublin City Council put up a big screen in the main square at Smithfield for the many fans who failed to get tickets. Organisers said about 5,000 turned up.
The crescendo at the end of Amhrán na bhFiann drew a roar Croker would have been proud of. It was a final that was won by goals and that fact wasn’t lost on the crowd who raised the roof when Dublin’s Bernard Brogan deftly flicked a long ball over the head of Mayo goalkeeper Rob Hennelly to level up the match.
As Mayo fell away during the second half and Brogan’s second goal put clear daylight between the teams it seemed like a party mood would descend – but Mayo clawed back again and it wasn’t until the final whistle sounded that the roar went up to join the blue flags. After the match, a cacophony of horn honking went up as blue-clad revellers hung out of car windows on the quays. Niall Fox (26) from Bray, Co Wicklow, said he had been rooting for Mayo but enjoyed the day out. “Some of the play in the first half was a little bamboozling,” he said. “But I think Dublin deserved their win in the end.”