It was a heroic performance by Kerry in yesterday’s All-Ireland final and while they live to fight another day, ultimately they came up short.
They had Dublin on the ropes but could not strike the killer blow as Jim Gavin’s charges rescued a draw. They could have clinched the five-in-a-row had Dean Rock slotted over a difficult free with the last kick of the game but it wasn’t to be.
However, Kerry manager Peter Keane insisted that yesterday was not a missed opportunity for his young team as they gained valuable experience of All-Ireland final day.
Keane also reiterated that his Kerry charges felt they had a chance coming into Croke Park yesterday before coming out with a vintage Peter Keane one-liner.
“I wouldn’t say it’s an opportunity missed. At the end of the day, we weren’t in an All-Ireland final since 2015,” said Keane.
“You’ve a young team. What are they going to get only experience out of the game. In terms of a learning curve, I said all year we’re on a crash course with (that) and this is only helping it.
“While you might read a lot into it yourselves (media), we wouldn’t read a lot into what you’re thinking. We wouldn’t put a whole pile of emphasis on that.
“We’re just thinking about ourselves. Did we think we had a chance coming here today? Sure, of course. If you’ve two dogs in any race, one of the dogs might get a heart attack and the other fella will walk home. You’ve a chance every time you’re out there.”
Dublin were on the verge of creating history yesterday as the five-in-a-row loomed. With Kerry being the last side to come so close many believed that the Kingdom would use this as motivation.
If they did, Peter Keane wasn’t going to tell us.
“Some guys think about this using motivation but look, at the end of the day, it’s a Kerry team, you’re a Kerry player, you’re kicking ball against the gable of a wall since you’re knee-high.
“You want to play on a day like this, you feel you’re born for this, to get up to Croke Park. Like I said, we hadn’t been here since 2015 so you want to be here on these days and we’ll get a second bite at it. It’d be a lot worse to be going out of here having lost, wouldn’t it?”
Kerry’s bench made a telling impact once again. Killian Spillane entered the fray to hit 1-1 from play and nearly seal a famous win for Kerry.
Meanwhile, Tommy Walsh wreaked havoc upon Dublin setting up two scores as well as kicking one himself and playing a hand in Spillane’s goal.
Overall, Keane was satisfied with the bounce Kerry got from the substitutes bench.
“I think we got a good bounce out of our subs, and Tommy was one of those guys. What did he do? He had two shots. He scored one, missed one but he set up another one, so he had a good day.”
We return to HQ in 12 days time for Part II.