The top 30 moments of the football summer: the top 10

Malachy Clerkin reflects on an epic summer ahead of Sunday’s All-Ireland SFC final

Paddy Durcan equalises for Mayo and takes the All-Ireland semi-final with Kerry to a replay. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Paddy Durcan equalises for Mayo and takes the All-Ireland semi-final with Kerry to a replay. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

10 Andy Moran’s goal v Kerry

All-Ireland semi-final replay, Croke Park, August 26th

The moment at which Mayo became a different proposition. Five points up at half-time, the normal course of events would have seen a Kerry comeback. Moran was having none of it, catching high and trading a one-two with Cillian O’Connor to nail down the lid.

9 Conor Loftus’s goal v Derry

All-Ireland SFC qualifier, Castlebar, July 1st

Mayo Were Gone, Part One. Derry were visibly tiring but they still had a point lead as the clock ticked 70. This was a brilliant goal, worked the length of the pitch through precise passing. Cillian O’Connor dished off the last one for Loftus to finish with aplomb.

Conor Loftus celebrates his brilliant goal against Derry. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Conor Loftus celebrates his brilliant goal against Derry. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

8 Brian Stack’s goal v Galway

Connacht final, Pearse Stadium, July 9th

Roscommon were playing with a six-point lead into what felt like a six-point wind. Stack pounced onto a Galway kick-out 50 metres out, took the mark, ignored the whistle and made for goal, finishing to the bottom left corner. Game, set, Connacht title.

7 Kieran Donaghy’s goal v Galway

All-Ireland quarter-final, Croke Park, July 30th

Galway had a plan for Donaghy - he treated them like errand boys sent by grocery clerks to collect a bill. A long ball in high found his big white gloves, marker flailing, sweeper floundering. Just for kicks, he turned inside on his left foot and roofed the finish.

6 Mayo’s three goals in five minutes v Roscommon

All-Ireland quarter-final replay, Croke Park, August 7th

End of the road for the Rossies, and maybe the true start of it for Mayo. This was the day they said enough was enough. Roscommon were blitzed and goals from Kevin McLoughlin, Andy Moran and Keith Higgins made Mayo’s point emphatically.

Jamie Clarke dummies and scores against Tipperary. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Jamie Clarke dummies and scores against Tipperary. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

5 Jamie Clarke’s goal v Tipperary

All-Ireland SFC qualifier, Thurles, July 15th

Only the geniuses can do it like this. Armagh were a point up in the 69th minute and this was the most elegant killshot of the year. Left alone in front of goal, he dropped the ball onto his left foot, nurdled it around the onrushing Tipp keeper and sidefooted home.

4 Diarmuid Connolly’s push

Leinster SFC, Portlaoise, June 17th

Connolly was manhandled by three Carlow players on the sideline and when the call went against him, he pushed linesman Ciarán Branagan in the shoulder. And so began the summer’s most tiresome circus. Pushgate, Spillanegate, CCCCgate, 12-week-gate.

Diarmuid Connolly was handed a 12-week ban after pushing a linesman in the Leinster win over Carlow. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Diarmuid Connolly was handed a 12-week ban after pushing a linesman in the Leinster win over Carlow. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

3 Aidan O’Shea picks up Kieran Donaghy

All-Ireland semi-final, Croke Park, August 20th

The Mayo News came up with five different markers for Donaghy in the build-up and none of them were Aidan O’Shea. So when he went in full-back after five minutes, the hum around the ground was palpable. He probably lost the battle; the war was another story.

Stephen Rochford’s decision to use Aidan O’Shea to mark Kieran Donaghy was the focus of debate after the semi-final draw between Mayo and Kerry. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Stephen Rochford’s decision to use Aidan O’Shea to mark Kieran Donaghy was the focus of debate after the semi-final draw between Mayo and Kerry. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

2 Con O’Callaghan’s goal v Tyrone

All-Ireland semi-final, Croke Park, August 27th

This was supposed to be different. But then it was just the same. Tyrone gave the ball away in midfield and a quick kick-pass left O’Callaghan with the Hill beckoning him home. Dublin’s new starlet needed only one sidestep and a sight of goal and that was that.

1 Paddy Durcan’s point v Kerry

All-Ireland semi-final, Croke Park, August 20th

Mayo have five minutes of injury-time to find an equaliser - the only surprise is probably that they didn’t find a winner too. Consummate patience from Donie Vaughan sent up Durcan for a return pass and one of Mayo’s most reliable shooters did the business.

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