2011 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final

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2011 All-Ireland Football Final
Event 2011 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship
Date 18 September 2011
Venue Croke Park, Dublin
Man of the Match Kevin Nolan
Referee Joe McQuillan (Cavan)
Attendance 82,300[1]
Weather Sunny/Overcast
15 °C (59 °F)[2]

The 2011 All-Ireland Football Final was the 124th event of its kind. It was the culmination of Gaelic football's premier competition, the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, and was played between Kerry and Dublin on 18 September 2011 at Croke Park, Dublin.

Dublin were victorious by a single point, achieving their first All-Ireland Senior Football Championship title since 1995. This was the first Kerry–Dublin final since 1985. History was made as the winning point was scored by a goalkeeper, Stephen Cluxton of Dublin, the first time this had ever happened in the final.[1] Cluxton's point gave the title to Dublin as, with the teams level, the match would have had to be replayed at a later date had it ended with both teams on the same score.[3] RTÉ called it "one of the most gripping Sam Maguire Cup deciders of the modern era" and the BBC said it was a "dramatic comeback victory."[1][3]

Going into the 2011 Championship Cork were the defending champions after defeating Down in the 2010 final.[4] However, Cork were eliminated in the quarter-finals in 2011 by Mayo.[5] On 30 August 2011, Joe McQuillan was confirmed as the referee for the senior final. This was his first time to referee an All Ireland Senior Football final.[6] Ahead of the game, Irish politicians Leo Varadkar and Aodhán Ó Ríordáin were censured by officials for flying unauthorised flags from their car windows in public. The flags favoured the Dublin team.[7] After the game, Dublin captain Bryan Cullen was offered the role of coaching Leinster Rugby's academy players.[8]

The 2011 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final attracted an audience share of almost 75 per cent, with three quarters of the available audience watching the final from beginning to end. This compared with an audience share of just over 65 per cent who watched the shock Ireland victory over Australia at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand the previous day.[9]

Paths to the final[edit]

Kerry defeated Tipperary,[10] Limerick[11] and Cork[12] to win the Munster Senior Football Championship. They went on to defeat Limerick for a second time in the All-Ireland Quarter final[13] and then Mayo in the semi final.[14]

Dublin defeated Laois,[15] Kildare[16] and Wexford[17] to win the Leinster Senior Football Championship. They went on to defeat Tyrone in the All Ireland Quarter Final[18] and Donegal in the semi final.[19] The Donegal versus Dublin football semi-final had the largest crowd attendance of the season prior to the final (81,436).[20]


This was the 12th time Kerry and Dublin met in an All-Ireland football final and the first since 1985. Kerry had won eight of the previous meetings, and Dublin had won three.

Kerry are the most successful Gaelic football team taking part in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, having previously won 36 and taken part in 55 All Ireland Football finals since the competition's inception in 1887. Dublin are the second most successful team, having won 22 and taken part in 35 finals prior to this match.

The first senior final meeting between Dublin and Kerry was in 1892. Dublin defeated Kerry in the 1923 final but would not do so again until the 1976 final. The 1970s was a particularly important time in the history of the rivalry between the sides due to the regularity with which the teams encountered one another. In the decade before the 2011 final Dublin and Kerry had met on five occasions, with Kerry regularly dispatching Dublin aside with ease. Their previous meeting (in the quarter-finals of the 2009 championship) saw Kerry defeat Dublin by 17 points.[21]


Team selection[edit]

On 13 September 2011, Kerry manager, Jack O'Connor named an unchanged team from that which had played Mayo in the semi final. There was some concern that Eoin Brosnan would be unable to play following an ankle injury, but he had recovered sufficiently to be named on the starting team.[22] Three days later, Pat Gilroy, the Dublin Manager, named his starting 15, which also featured no changes since their semi final match against Donegal.[23] Following a red card for striking Donegal player Marty Boyle in the semi final, Dublin's Diarmuid Connolly was initially ineligible to play in the final. Having appealed this decision to the CHC, he was, however, cleared to play.[24]


Prior to the senior final, Tipperary defeated Dublin in the minor final to take their first minor football title since 1934, it was an extraordinary 3-09 to 1–14 comeback after the Dublin minors appeared to have them dead and buried with Tipperary coming from six points behind at one stage in the second half.[25]



First half[edit]

Kerry were the first team to score, after just two minutes of the match, with Declan O'Sullivan fisting the ball over the bar. Nine minutes later, after several wides from both sides, Alan Brogan curled a shot inside the upright to equalise. Paul Flynn was booked for a high challenge on Aidan O'Mahony a minute later. In the 15th minute, Alan Brogan scored his second point of the match to give Dublin the lead. Two minutes later, Darren O'Sullivan broke through the Dublin defence and offloaded the ball to Colm Cooper who put it past Stephen Cluxton to score a goal for Kerry. With the score at Kerry 1-01 – 0-02 Dublin, Bernard Brogan got his first point of the day from a free. In the 24th minute, Rory O'Carroll was given a yellow card for an off-the-ball incident with Darren O'Sullivan. A minute later, Kerry made their first substitution, bringing on Paul Galvin for corner-forward Kieran O'Leary. In the 28th minute, goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton scored for Dublin from a free and then Bernard Brogan scored his second and third points, giving Dublin a two-point lead. Substitute Galvin then scored his first point, leaving the score Kerry 1-02 – 0-06 Dublin at half time.[26][27][28]

Second half[edit]

Three minutes into the second half, Kerry midfielder, Bryan Sheehan was given a yellow card for an unfair challenge on Michael Darragh MacAuley. Bernard Brogan scored the free from a relatively easy position. Two minutes later, Brogan combined with Denis Bastick to give Bastick his first point of the afternoon. In the 42nd minute, Sheehan was fouled 15m out from goal, giving Kerry their first score of the half. They followed this up with a fisted point from Kieran Donaghy a minute later, and a free from Colm Cooper after Ger Brennan was booked for fouling Declan O'Sullivan. Six minutes later, Sheehan went around three men to score another Kerry point and leave the score at Kerry 1-06 – 0-08 Dublin. At this point, both sides made a substitution. For Dublin, Kevin McManamon came on for Paul Flynn and for Kerry, Barry John Keane came on for Donnacha Walsh. The teams swapped frees, with Sheehan scoring at one end and Brogan at the other. In the 56th minute, Sheehan scored another free and Dublin introduced Eoghan O'Gara, replacing Barry Cahill. Cooper then scored another free and another point from play to give Kerry a 4-point lead with 10 minutes left in the match. In the 64th minute, Alan Brogan fed the ball through to McManamon, who rounded his marker and put the ball past goalkeeper, Brendan Kealy for a Dublin goal and to reduce the gap to a single point. A minute later, Kevin Nolan scored the equaliser and in the 68th minute, Bernard Brogan put Dublin a point ahead. Entering injury time, Kieran Donaghy levelled the scores again with a point from 35 metres out. With seconds left on the clock, McManamon was fouled leaving Stephen Cluxton to convert a free kick to make Dublin All-Ireland champions for the 23rd time.[26][27][28]


Dublin 1–12 – 1–11 Kerry
Bernard Brogan (0-06, 4f)
Kevin McManaman (1-00)
Stephen Cluxton (0-02, 2f)
Alan Brogan (0-02)
Kevin Nolan (0-01)
Denis Bastick (0-01)
Report Colm Cooper (1-03, 2f)
Bryan Sheehan (0-04, 2f, 1 '45)
Kieran Donaghy (0-02)
Declan O'Sullivan 0-01
Paul Galvin 0-01
Attendance: 82,300
Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)
GK 1 Stephen Cluxton
CB 2 Michael Fitzsimons
FB 3 Rory O'Carroll YC 23'
CB 4 Cian O'Sullivan YC 61'
WB 5 James McCarthy Substituted off 46'
HB 6 Ger Brennan YC 44'
WB 7 Kevin Nolan
MF 8 Denis Bastick Substituted off 63'
MF 9 Michael Darragh MacAuley
WF 10 Paul Flynn YC 12' Substituted off 51'
HF 11 Barry Cahill Substituted off 57'
WF 12 Bryan Cullen (c)
CF 13 Alan Brogan
FF 14 Diarmuid Connolly
CF 15 Bernard Brogan
FF 20 Eoghan O'Gara Substituted in 57'
CB 21 Philly McMahon Substituted in 46'
FF 24 Kevin McManamon Substituted in 51' YC 56'
MF 25 Eamonn Fennell Substituted in 63'
Pat Gilroy
GK 1 Brendan Kealy
CB 2 Killian Young
FB 3 Marc Ó Sé
CB 4 Tom O'Sullivan
WB 5 Tomás Ó Sé
HB 6 Eoin Brosnan Substituted off 63'
WB 7 Aidan O'Mahony YC 22'
MF 8 Anthony Maher
MF 9 Bryan Sheehan YC 39'
WF 10 Darran O'Sullivan
HF 11 Declan O'Sullivan
WF 12 Donnacha Walsh Substituted off 51'
CF 13 Colm Cooper (c)
FF 14 Kieran Donaghy
CF 15 Kieran O'Leary Substituted off 24'
WB 17 Daniel Bohane Substituted in 63'
WF 18 Paul Galvin Substituted in 24'
CF 21 Barry John Keane Substituted in 51'
Jack O'Connor

Man of the Match:
Kevin Nolan

Pat McEnaney (Monaghan)
David Coldrick (Meath)

Sideline Official

Tommy O'Reilly
Ciaran Brady
TP Gray
Jimmy Galligan


Trophy presentation[edit]

The trophy was presented from the Hogan Stand to Dublin captain Bryan Cullen by GAA president Christy Cooney. After the presentation the Dublin team and management went on a lap of honour around the Croke Park pitch. Along the way, they met former Dublin manager, Paul Caffrey, who was on duty in his capacity as a garda.

A Dublin fan also sneaked onto the pitch to celebrate. He put on Eamonn Fennell's discarded tracksuit top after joining the substitutes' bench and was seen on live television and in photographs.[29]

Man of the match[edit]

Dublin's Kevin Nolan was named as the official GAA man of the match on RTÉ's The Sunday Game programme on the evening of the match. Other publications selected different players. For example, the Irish Independent selected Kevin McManamon.[30]


On the evening of their victory, Lord Mayor of Dublin Andrew Montague invited the winning Dublin team to the Mansion House the following evening for a civic reception in their honour. The public was welcomed.[31] An estimated 35,000 people turned up to the homecoming at Merrion Square.[32][33]


  1. ^ a b c "Cluxton the hero as Dublin win All-Ireland". RTÉ Sport. 2011-09-18. Archived from the original on 2011-09-23. Retrieved 2011-09-18. 
  2. ^ Met Eireann: Monthly Summaries - September 2011
  3. ^ a b "All-Ireland Football Final: Dublin 1–12 1–11 Kerry". BBC Sport. 18 September 2011.
  4. ^ "Cork are crowned All-Ireland champions". RTÉ Sport. Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 19 September 2010. Archived from the original on 20 September 2010. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  5. ^ "Mayo 1–13 Cork 2-06". RTÉ Sport. 31 July 2011. Archived from the original on 4 December 2011. Retrieved 4 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "McQuillan to referee football final". RTÉ Sport. 2011-08-30. Archived from the original on 2015-03-15. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  7. ^ Sheahan, Fionnan (15 September 2011). "'True blue' Varadkar gets red card as Dáil officials flag problem". Irish Independent. 
  8. ^ "'The GAA are not in a position to offer him a job'". Irish Independent. 22 September 2011.
  9. ^ Glennon, Micil (19 September 2011). "GAA and rugby coverage attracts huge numbers". RTÉ Sport. Raidió Teilifís Éireann. Archived from the original on 23 September 2011. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  10. ^ McCarthy, Kieran (2011-05-23). "O Se red card dampens Kerry's mood". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 2012-08-02. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  11. ^ "Gooch masterclass for rampant Kerry". Irish Independent. 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  12. ^ Breheny, Martin (2011-07-04). "Kerry hit route one to punish lethargic Rebels". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  13. ^ "Kerry 1–20 Limerick 0–10". RTÉ Sport. 2011-07-31. Retrieved 2011-08-31. [permanent dead link]
  14. ^ Breheny, Martin (2011-08-22). "Kingdom come to top table again". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  15. ^ "Dreadful fare as Dubs sleepwalk to victory". Irish Independent. 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  16. ^ Breheny, Martin (2011-06-27). "Lilywhites cry foul at 'cruel' finale". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  17. ^ Murphy, Cian (2011-07-11). "Gilroy happy to survive on rare Brogan off-day". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  18. ^ "Dublin 0–22 Tyrone 0–15". RTÉ Sport. 2011-08-06. Retrieved 2011-08-31. [permanent dead link]
  19. ^ Breheny, Martin (2011-08-29). "Dubs hurdle defensive wall to earn long-awaited shot at Sam". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  20. ^ Breheny, Martin (2011-09-01). "GAA lifted by crowd figures as qualifiers prove big draw". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2011-09-01. 
  21. ^ "Kerry pioneers the kings of the urban-rural frontier". The Irish Times. 17 September 2011.
  22. ^ "Galvin named on bench for All-Ireland final". RTÉ Sport. 2011-09-13. Retrieved 2011-09-14. [permanent dead link]
  23. ^ "Dublin unchanged for Sunday's final". RTÉ Sport. 2011-09-16. Archived from the original on 2011-09-26. Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  24. ^ "Connolly free to face Kerry in final". RTÉ Sport. 2011-09-05. Retrieved 2011-09-16. [permanent dead link]
  25. ^ "Tipp beat Dubs in minor football final". RTÉ Sport. 18 September 2011. Archived from the original on 24 September 2011. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  26. ^ a b "As It Happened: Dublin Win Sam". RTÉ Sport. 18 September 2011. Retrieved 19 September 2011. [permanent dead link]
  27. ^ a b "As it happened: Dublin v Kerry in the All-Ireland football final". thejournal.ie. 18 September 2011. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  28. ^ a b "Dublin v Kerry as it happened!". Setanta Ireland. 18 September 2011. Archived from the original on 23 September 2011. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  29. ^ "Who are ya? Impostor Stephen pitches up in the middle of Dublin's All-Ireland celebrations". The Belfast Telegraph.
  30. ^ "The game at a glance". Irish Independent. 2011-09-19. Archived from the original on 2012-08-04. Retrieved 2011-09-20. 
  31. ^ "Merrion Square Event for Sam Homecoming". Hill 16. 18 September 2011. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  32. ^ Glennon, Micil (2011-09-20). "Thousands celebrate Dublin victory". RTÉ Sport. Archived from the original on 2011-09-23. Retrieved 2011-09-20. 
  33. ^ "Huge crowd welcome All-Ireland winners". Irish Examiner. 20 September 2011. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 

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