Michael Corry reporting live from Croke Park.
Dublin are All-Ireland champions for the fifth time in succession after a barnstorming second-half performance helped them defeat Kerry by six points in Croke Park.
Jim Gavin’s side started the better before Kerry pegged them back as the two sides went in level at the break. However, Eoin Murchan’s goal 16 seconds after the restart set the launchpad for what was a dominant second-half display by the sky blues.
Here’s how we rated their performances.
Stephen Cluxton – 8
Kerry tested Cluxton early with four long balls in the first eight minutes. He never wilted. Stood strong to make a good second-half save from Stephen O’Brien. Retained 23 of 25 kick-outs. Typical Cluxton performance. A six-time All-Ireland winning captain. Unprecedented stuff.
David Byrne – 7.5
Sauntered up-field to score a great point in the first half. Was assured at the back and performed very well throughout until his withdrawal late in the game.
Michael Fitzsimons – 8
Had problems with Clifford but generally performed quite well. A sticky man-marker, conceding 0-4 from play of Clifford is to be expected all things considered.
Dublin’s best man-marker should get another All-Star this year.
Jonny Cooper – 7.5
Much better than the last day out. Cooper acted as Dublin’s spare defender. Got on a tonne of ball and was the launchpad for a plethora of Dublin attacks.
Jack McCaffrey – 5
It was always going to be hard to replicate what the Clontarf man did the last day out. Got turned Iver a few times going forward before picking up an injury close to half-time. Was replaced at the break.
Eoin Murchan – 8.5
The late replacement was excellent throughout. Drove forward at will and was smart in possession.
Scored a goal 16 seconds into the second half when collecting the breaking ball from the throw-in and driving through the heart of the Kerry defence before burying it in the corner.
John Small – 6.5
Committed a few typical John Small fouls in the first half but was generally quiet throughout which is a good thing for Small.
His primary role is to man-mark and he did that well.
Brian Fenton – 7
Better than the last day out but still not his usual swashbuckling self.
Got the better of the Kerry midfield this time around though and rarely, if ever, gave possession away.
James McCarthy – 7
A standard James McCarthy performance. Solid defensively, kicked a great score and made some strong runs forward.
Much better than in the drawn game.
Niall Scully – 7
Cool, calm, collected. Scully kicked a great point in the second half and was generally a great outlet ball for Dublin.
Ciarán Kilkenny – 9
Our Man of the Match. Excellent from start to finish. Kicked 0-4 from play and played a role in a number of other scores.
Gave away one ball which was unlike him but overall, the pick of the bunch today.
Brian Howard – 6.5
Much like Scully, a trademark Brian Howard performance. Used possession well.
Moved to midfield in the second half but wasn’t as impactful as the last day out.
Paul Mannion – 8
Ran Kerry ragged in the first half. All three full-backs were placed on Mannion at one stage or another.
Finished with 0-4 from play. A fitting end to what was probably the best season of his career.
Con O’Callaghan – 8.5
Was much-maligned alongside Mannion after a below-par showing the last day out.
Gave Kerry a torrid time today. Ran at the Kingdom relentlessly and was so hard to shift in possession. Finished with four from play.
Dean Rock – 7
Much quieter than the last day out. Overall, Rock was largely anonymous. However, he stood up when it mattered late in the day to kick two excellent points to ensure Dublin’s victory.
Diarmuid Connolly – 6
Introduced at half-time but didn’t make the desired impact.
Was turned over on two or three occasions. Kicked one wide and had a shot saved late on when he possibly should have passed.
However, his pass for Kilkenny’s point in the second half was worth the entrance fee alone.
Philip McMahon – 5
Was brought on at the same time as Tommy Walsh as the two pushed and shoved each other on the sideline. Lost the only ball that the two contested. Didn’t contribute much to the game.
Cormac Costello – 5
Replaced Scully for the final quarter but failed to contribute anything meaningful.
Kevin McManamon – Not on long enough.
Cian O’Sullivan – Not on long enough.
Michael Darragh MacAuley – Not on long enough.
Shane Ryan – 7.5
Nothing really he could have done for Murchan’s goal. Retained 100% of his kick-outs. No blame for this defeat can be placed at the Rathmore man’s feet.
Jason Foley – 7
The pick of the Kerry defenders in truth. Done a great job on Dean Rock and made a few timely interceptions.
Can be proud of his performance.
Tadhg Morley – 6
Not as effective as the last day out. Mannion gave him a hard time early on before he tried his luck with O’Callaghan.
Broke forward to great effect and could have had a goal.
Tom O’Sullivan – 5
Largely anonymous throughout. O’Sullivan has been in great form for Kerry this year at both ends of the field but he struggled to get into this game.
Paul Murphy – 6.5
Tried valiantly did the Kerry captain on the day but struggled to assert himself. Replaced in the second half.
Gavin Crowley – 5
Another hero from the last day who was ineffective this time around. A great season for Crowley but a disappointing end.
Brian Ó Beaglaoich – 5
Again, largely anonymous throughout. Broke through on goal once in the first half but was stopped in his tracks by Mick Fitzsimons. Replaced in the second half
Ó Beaglaoich has done well to break into the Kerry starting XV but today didn’t go his way.
David Moran – 5
Kicked three really bad wides and was nowhere to be seen around the middle.
Dublin won the midfield battle today. Moran will not be happy with himself.
Jack Barry – 5.5
Great the last day but didn’t have the same impact this time around.
Got on plenty of ball in the first half but was unable to punch any holes in the Dublin defence.
Diarmuid O’Connor – 5
The late replacement for Gavin White. Barely touched the ball and kicked a bad wide in the second half before being replaced.
Seán O’Shea – 7
Tried hard throughout and kicked a brilliant score from play to keep Kerry in the game.
Could well be walking away as the 2019 Young Footballer of the Year.
Stephen O’Brien – 6.5
Kept running at the Dublin defence and could have had a goal if not for a great save by Cluxton. But committed a lot of fouls and didn’t have the same impact he’s had on games throughout this season. Will still win an All-Star.
David Clifford – 8
Excellent performance by the Fossa man. Finished with 0-5, four of which came from play. Caused Dublin plenty of headaches in the first half but as the Dubs turned the screw in the second half there was nothing Clifford could do.
Paul Geaney – 8
Was brilliant for Kerry throughout. Kicked four points from play and caused bother at full-forward. Could have had another goal in this final but blazed his first-half shot over the bar.
Adrian Spillane – 5
Operated around the middle third were Kerry were dominated by Dublin. Turned over a huge amount of ball the last day but struggled to get into the game today.
Jack Sherwood – 5
Didn’t contribute much. Came on when Kerry were under pressure but couldn’t help get a stranglehold at midfield.
Gavin White – 5
The Kerry captain was introduced in the second half but was unable to stop the Dublin juggernaut from kicking on.
Tommy Walsh – 6
Won the first ball that went into him but apart from that couldn’t impact the game the way Kerry would have wanted him to.
Killian Spillane – Not on long enough to be rated
James O’Donoghue – Not on long enough to be rated
Dara Moynihan – Not on long enough to be rated.