Rare auld times in the Capital as Dublin’s light shines on

Tyrone left chasing shadows as Jim Gavin’s men poised to chase mythical five-in-a-row

Dublin fans celebrate as their team defeat Tyrone at Croke Park to make it four All-Irelands in a row.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Dublin fans celebrate as their team defeat Tyrone at Croke Park to make it four All-Irelands in a row. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

These – right now – are the rare auld times.

On a gorgeous afternoon in Croke Park, the Dublin football team swept to their fourth All-Ireland football title in a row.

No metropolitan side has ever shone brighter. They become the first city team to hold the Sam Maguire for four unbroken championship summers and will be chasing down Irish sporting mythology next year.

The best teams in GAA history have sailed after the five-in-row much as Ahab goes after the whale. And not since Offaly’s Seamus Derby destroyed the Kerry gods on a grainy day in 1982 has that feat seemed probable in the football championship.

Not until now.

For as the Tyrone players stood in the same unhappy circle as the defeated teams of Mayo and Kerry formed in recent years, it was difficult to imagine anyone stopping Jim Gavin’s team.

They are rampant.

Something different

Mickey Harte, the architect of Tyrone’s three perfect All-Ireland final appearances in the last decade, was expected to present something different to this final.

And barely had the red carpet been rolled and the anthem played than his team looked intent on another outrageous coup.

The Ulster men led by 0-5 to 0-1 after just 15 minutes. For a few minutes, the country began to entertain the idea of a shock for the ages.

It was an illusion.

Two small errors led to Dublin goals for Paul Mannion and Niall Scully and after that, Tyrone, although courageous, were chasing shadows.

For 50 minutes, Dublin gave an exhibition based on power and class. Frighteningly, it was the freshmen like Eoin Murchan and Brian Howard who really caught the eye in the muggy afternoon, reinforcing the idea that this tsunami of Dublin brilliance has yet to reach full velocity.

Easy to forget

It was easy to forget that Diarmuid Connolly, for many the best footballer in Ireland, has spent the summer in New York, electing to sit out an All-Ireland season where, in truth, no other team could even touch the Dubs.

There was no sign that the pressure and effort of staying champions has taken even the slightest toll. Ominously, they looked stronger in their final game than they had done all summer.

Four years now and the sights and sounds have become familiar. Philo on the Croke Park sound system. Stephen Cluxton lifts the big silver cup. The city swoons. The Dubs roll on.

The light does not decline.

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