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Walsh and Clifford define absorbing final; Joyce aggrieved by referee decision

The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

A classic in the All-Ireland saw Kerry win their 38th All-Ireland title against Galway at Croke Park. A fascinating duel between Shane Walsh and David Clifford distinguishes an absorbing final, writes Seán Moran, as they scored an amazing 17 points between them in a pulsating game. Kerry’s greater scoring spread vital was vital as Galway prove overreliant on brilliant Walsh in one of the five takeaways from the game. Walsh himself put in one of the best performances by a player to not win an All-Ireland final, Malachy Clerkin and Keith Duggan agree. “He fired four points from play and two of those were out and out beauties: shots so true that the celebrations began as soon as the kick left his boot. Left foot. Right foot. All kinds of Kerry cover. It didn’t matter,” writes Duggan in today’s Subscriber Only piece.

It was to be a crowning moment for David Clifford though, one of the greatest Gaelic footballers finally getting his first Sam Maguire Cup. “This isn’t the end of us by any means. We are just getting started,” says Clifford on a day when he scored eight points and produced a masterclass. It was the third coming of manager Jack O’Connor that helped secure one of the “best ones” of all All-Ireland titles for Kerry as he has now presided over All-Ireland wins in three separate periods in charge of the Kingdom. For Galway manager Pádraic Joyce, he was left aggrieved by a free awarded against John Daly in the final minutes of the final. “Look it, I can’t fault our players out there. To a man, they were exceptional. It was a bitter lesson for us. We are very disappointed,” Joyce said.

The other big GAA story of the weekend was of course the stepping down of Kilkenny hurling manager Brian Cody after 24 years in charge of the Cats. Malachy Clerkin asks Cody, why did you have to leave just when it was getting interesting, as a new rivalry with Limerick had potential to grow. Some of the memorable moments from Cody are shown in The Irish Times archive, as Henry Shefflin was among Kilkenny players past and present to pay tribute to Brian Cody. Seán Moran writes Brian Cody’s achievements will be the benchmark, probably for all our lifetimes. Another man bowing this weekend is Pat Spillane, who finishes up as a RTÉ GAA pundit after 30 years after nephews Killian and Adrian continue a family tradition. “It’s a lovely way to finish my time here,” he said on the broadcast, the tears flowing. “In 1964 my father was a selector for Kerry against Galway. The night before the game, he had a pain in his chest, wouldn’t go to the doctor, went to the game the following day and was dead on Tuesday. Kerry v Galway matches to me always brings back this memory.”

In golf it was a one-two finish for two of Ireland’s golden generation as Darren Clarke beat Pádraig Harrington to win the Senior British Open in Scotland, as Brooke Henderson won the LPGA major in France. Elsewhere, Royal Dublin’s Hugh Foley became the first man since Clarke in 1990 to do the double when he followed his North of Ireland win with a South of Ireland win at Lahinch. Jonas Vingegaard usurped Tadej Pogacar to win the Tour de France as the Dane swept into Paris transported by his near-infallible Jumbo-Visma team to win at his second attempt. Meanwhile in horse racing, the Galway festival gets back to normal with return of crowds this week, as top handler Willie Mullins is aiming to maintain modern-day festival dominance for the week ahead. Brian O’Connor writes that Foveros could prove value to go one better than 2021 in Galway feature


Ken Early writes that Barcelona double down on their actual core value — creative accounting. Early writes about Barcelona’s financial eccentricities: “Thoughts of John Delaney are never far away when you look at Barcelona this summer. It appears certain Barca thought leaders have drawn inspiration from Delaney’s feats of financial engineering much as Clausewitz studied the battles of Napoleon.” Also in soccer, Gavin Cummiskey writes that for Kenny’s Ireland, the EFL Championship is the new Premier League as Canaries duo Omobamidele and Idah lead an Irish influx into English second tier as the Norwich duo look to bring Canaries back to the Premier League.