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Ronan O’Gara summed up what the whole of Ireland thought of Sean O’Shea’s iconic free against Dublin

This article was first published in July 2022.

Ronan O’Gara gave his seal of approval to Sean O’Shea’s dramatic injury-time free-kick that sent Kerry into the All-Ireland Final.

In what was a thrilling afternoon of football at Croke Park, it looked like Dublin and Kerry were heading to extra-time, with the score standing at 1-13 apiece with just seconds of injury-time remaining.

Sean O’Shea – Nerves of steel.

After David Clifford won a free, it was left to O’Shea to step up and take the kick that could send his county into an All-Ireland Final against Galway on July 24th.

As he placed the ball down from all of 50+ yards, there were many people in Croke Park who would have been forgiven for thinking that task was just a little to tall, but not the 23-year-old, who duly stepped up to sink it over the bar.

Dublin barely had time to restart before the referee blew his whistle, sparking ecstatic scenes among all those wearing green and gold on a beautifully-sunny afternoon at Croke Park.

Ronan O’Gars on O’Shea’s kick.

Former Ireland rugby international O’Gara, who knows a thing or two about kicking a ball over a bar, was among those who took to Twitter to share their awe at O’Shea’s remarkable feat.

‘Beautiful to watch such balls under pressure,’ the current La Rochelle coach posted. ‘What a strike… middle of the middle… Brilliant, brilliant game.. Seanie boy…’

Sean O’Shea’s busy day.

Around 100 minutes earlier, it was the same man who made the first major breakthrough in the game, as O’Shea found the net to put Kerry 1-01 to 0-01 after just three minutes.

Later in the first half, the Kerry captain spurned the opportunity to put his side seven points clear, when he had a penalty saved by Dubs goalkeeper Evan Comerford.

When the half-time whistle arrived, Kerry were leading 1-08 to 0-06 and this became 1-10 to 0-08 early in the second half, before Dublin’s Cormac Costello found the net to reduce the deficit to two points.

Just a minute later, the gap was down to a solitary point after Ciaran Kilkenny punched over on 47 minutes, before Kerry composed themselves by keeping the Dubs scoreless until the 62nd minute.

Dramatic finish.

The sides were level heading into injury-time and it was the magnificent O’Shea who nosed Kerry in front once again, before Dean Rock fired over a free that would have been harder to miss.

Just as it seemed like extra-time was inevitable, Kerry were awarded the free from which O’Shea sealed their spot at their first All-Ireland Final since 2019.

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