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Player Ratings As Dublin Survive Kerry Onslaught

David Clifford with Michael Fitzsimons 1/9/2019

It finished 1-16 to 1-16 meaning Kerry and Dublin will have to do it all again in two week’s time in Croke Park. 

In what was an excellent and enthralling game from start to finish both sides have excellent performers across the pitch.

Here are our player ratings following an amazing All-Ireland final.

player ratings dublin


Stephen Cluxton – 8

A couple of early kick-outs went astray as Jack Barry dominated the midfield area but soon found his rhythm. A slight wobble towards the end, a bit like the entirety of Dublin.

Saved a penalty in the first half and topped a rasper of a shot onto the crossbar in the second. Not much he could have done for Spillane’s goal. His excellency continues

David Byrne – 7

A superb block on Paul Geaney following Cluxton’s save. Battled hard throughout but could have done better for Kerry’s goal.

Has been excellent all season for Dublin and a possible outside bet for an All-Star following years of warming the bench and being tormented with injuries.

player ratings dublin

Jonny Cooper – 4

Taken to the cleaners by David Clifford. Consistently fouled every ball that came their way. Can have no complaints with the red card.

Many felt the penalty may have been harsh but from the press box it looked a certain penalty. Be surprised if he is put on Clifford again in the replay, should have been moved following the first yellow.

Mick Fitzsimons – 7

Performed admirably throughout and was a much better fit for Clifford than Cooper ever was. Can walk away happy with his performance and will no doubt regain his spot for the replay.

player ratings dublin

Jack McCaffrey – 9

Man of the match. Kicked 1-3 from play, phenomenal for a wing-back. Defensive work will no doubt be overlooked due to his exploits higher up the pitch but the Clontarf man was brilliant at both ends.

After a barnstorming start to the season, the marauding wing-back is making a late push for a second Footballer of the Year gong. Need’s man-marked in the replay.

James McCarthy – 7

Made an excellent goal-line save to deny Geaney in the first half but faded out as the game wore on.

Quiet enough day overall for McCarthy. Moved into full-back once Tommy Walsh entered the fray. Walsh changed the game and swung it in Kerry’s favour.

player ratings dublin

John Small – 6

Started well on Stephen O’Brien who didn’t touch the ball until the 11th minute, however, once the Kenmare man got going Small seemed to struggle and could have received his marching orders for the third time in an All-Ireland final.

Also kicked what one journalist described as the worst shot in Croke Park history. He wasn’t far wrong.

Brian Fenton – 5

Dead quiet all afternoon. There is clearly some logic to the Jack Barry effect. First-time he’s been held scoreless in a  championship game all year.

Kerry’s midfield dominated from start to finish which was unusual.

player ratings dublin

Michael Darragh Macauley – 5

Also quiet. Got blown up for over carrying which seemed silly considering he wasn’t under pressure. Struggled to get to grips with David Moran.

Niall Scully – 6

Again, didn’t feature much in the game. Done his usual grunt work around the field but made little to no impact on the game.

Con O’Callaghan – 7

Limited to just one point. Was dragged up the field at one point in the first half by Tom O’Sullivan which is what Kerry wanted. Did eventually get going and caused problems. Nearly created a goal for himself but had to settle with a point and own a few frees which Rock converted.

Won a great ball in the second half under pressure but will be disappointed overall in his performance.

player ratings dublin

Brian Howard – 8.5

Was pivotal in McCaffrey’s goal rising high to claim the catch of the day.

Vastly underrated still. Was withdrawn with minutes to go because he had nothing left to give which did lead to a couple of errors. Great performance.

Paul Mannion – 7

Kicked 0-2 from play in the first half but more was expected of him considering the form he’s been in all year.

Again, well marshalled by Kerry who had their homework done. Tadhg Morley kept him quiet in the second half.

player ratings dublin

Dean Rock 8.5

Pick of the Dublin forwards alongside Howard. Finished with 0-10 including three from play. Claimed an excellent catch at midfield in the first half and looked lively throughout.

Had a chance to win it at the end but it was a very difficult free to execute, he can’t be blamed at all for that.

Ciaran Kilkenny 7

Usual self. Does a mountain of unseen work. Might have touched the ball more than anyone today.

However, like most of Dublin’s leaders, struggled to make a telling impact.

player ratings dublin


Paddy Small – 6

Missed a few chances but did do well to win a couple of frees.

Eoin Murchan – 7

Got forward a lot and added an impetus to Dublin’s attack. Performed well overall when introduced.

player ratings dublin

Diarmuid Connolly – 6

Looked to have a golden opportunity to level the game but shewed his shot wide. Made some good runs in behind but never received the pass. Should have been brought on earlier.

Cormac Costello – 6

Looked to have saved Dublin’s All-Ireland final blushes again but his effort was ruled out by hawkeye.

Kevin McManamon – 5

Made no impact apart from annoying Shane Ryan.

player ratings dublin



Shane Ryan – 7.5

Sent a couple of kick-outs over the sideline early on but had a good day by and large from the restarts. Did well to save a point which in turn led to Killian Spillane’s goal.

We raved about Cluxton doing this against Mayo, the same praise should be heaped onto the Rathmore man.

Jason Foley – 7 

Like much of the Kerry defence, a very solid showing. Performed admirably throughout and should be proud of having left the field still in with a chance at stopping the drive for five.

dublin kerry

Tadhg Morley – 8

It’s been levelled at Kerry that they don’t have a defensive leader. Morley can be that man. Very impressive throughout especially considering he was detailed to mark Mannion, the country’s in-form forward.

Excellent display.

Tom O’Sullivan – 7

The Dingle man was probably lucky to remain on the field following a high-tackle that every man and his dog expected to see him receive a second yellow.

Kept O’Callaghan quiet for large parts which is no mean feat.

Paul Murphy – 8

Excellent display. Could have had a cracking goal if not for the fingertips of Cluxton. An important cog in Kerry’s defensive display.

Gavin Crowley – 8

Kicked an excellent second-half score when the game was in the melting pot. Excellent at both ends of the field and linked defence and attack very well.

Brian Ó Beaglaoich – 7

Solid performance from the An Ghaeltacht man. Withdrawn in the second-half to make way for Tommy Walsh which in hindsight, was probably his greatest contribution.

David Moran 8.5

Made mincemeat of Macauley. Got on a huge amount of possession and is one of the calmest individuals in Ireland when he has the ball in his hands.

Made some errors but overall was a majestic performance, Kerry’s undoubted leader.

Adrian Spillane – 7

Put in a huge shift physically as expected. Summed up by his hit on Cooper which led to Kerry’s opening score. Not as influential around the middle as Jack Barry and Moran but solid enough none the less.

dublin kerry

Gavin White – 5.5

Kerry captain might find himself out in the cold again following a quiet enough performance. tried to mark McCaffrey but the Clontarf man ran him ragged.

Might be given a chance in the replay to make amends.

Sean O’Shea – 9

By far the best Kerry player on show. Deadly accurate from dead balls which comes as no surprise but hsi contribution from open play was phenomenal throughout.

Wonderful performance in what the biggest game of his career.


Stephen O’Brien – 7

Didn’t touch the ball for the first 11 minutes of the match. Eventually got motoring and kicked a good score but was nowhere near as threatening as he has been all season long.

At least he has a chance to rectify that in two weeks.

David Clifford – 8

A couple of uncharacteristically bad wides early in the game but eventually settled himself with a great score. Ran Jonny Cooper ragged, drawing four or five frees of the Na Fianna man leaving David Gough with no choice but to send him off.

Could have a big say the next day out.

Paul Geaney – 6.5

Missed a gilt-edged goal chance and a penalty in the first half. Didn’t score but assisted a few scores and looked threatening at times.

A frustrating day for the Dingle man overall.

Jack Barry 8.5

The talk around Barry being the only man able to mark Fenton must be true. Fenton was eerily quiet while Barry roared, particularly in the first half when he caught two of Cluxton’s kick-outs from the heavens.

Excellent performance.


Killian Spillane 8.5

Unlucky to miss out in what was clearly a horses for courses move by Peter Keane.

Has given his manager something to think about the next day out as he came on to great effect and kicked 1-1 from play.

Tommy Walsh – 9

Much like the Tyrone game, Tommy Walsh flipped the script on its head. Dublin lead by five but Walsh came in and kicked a score, set up two further points and played a hand in Kerry’s goal. Caused Dublin huge problems.

Jack Sherwood – 6

Not as influential as his substitute appearance in the semi-final but battled hard throughout.

Jonathan Lyne – 5

Flung himself to the ground in search of a free as Kerry struggled to get up the field in the final minutes.

Graham O’Sullivan – Not on long enough

Dara Moynihan – Not on long enough

Mark Griffin – Not on long enough




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