2014 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final
|Event||2014 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship|
|Date||21 September 2014|
|Venue||Croke Park, Dublin|
|Man of the Match||Paul Murphy|
|Referee||Eddie Kinsella (Laois)|
|Weather||A lovely day for football|
The 2014 All-Ireland Football Final, the 127th event of its kind and the culmination of the 2014 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, was played at Croke Park in Dublin on 21 September 2014. North-western side Donegal, last champions in 2012 and famed for their deployment of The System, took on south-western outfit Kerry, last champions in 2009.
Both sides defeated the previous year's finalists Dublin and Mayo in their semi-finals to set up this final match between "the two great football outposts of the west-coast extremities". This was their first encounter on All-Ireland final day, and only the second in 127 years of Championship history, Donegal having defeated Kerry in their previous encounter at the 2012 quarter-final stage. Kerry narrowly won a close game which ended with a scoreline of 2-9 to 0-12 - and the width of a post from being a draw when Michael Murphy charged straight through the middle of Kerry's blanket defence and their goalkeeper pawed Patrick McBrearty's shot into the waiting arms of Colm McFadden, who hit the rebound against the Kerry post; then a frantic goalmouth scramble ensued during which the referee sent off Johnny Buckley for a black card offence.
Paths to the final
Donegal defeated Derry, Antrim and Monaghan to win the Ulster Senior Football Championship. They defeated Armagh in the All-Ireland quarter-final and the reigning All-Ireland Champions Dublin in the semi-final. The semi-final result was considered the greatest shock in the history of the Championship, with Dublin placed at unbackable odds by bookmakers on the morning of the game. The bookmakers took a bashing. It was Paddy Power's worst result in its history.
Kerry defeated Clare and Cork to win the Munster Senior Football Championship. They overcame Galway in the All-Ireland quarter-final and Mayo in the semi-final after a replay. Notably, the semi-final replay between Kerry and Mayo was not played in Croke Park; it was moved to the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick to make way for a controversial college American football game held at Gaelic football's traditional site.
Demand for tickets was even higher than the 2012 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final. Alan Milton, the GAA’s Head of Media Relations, said he believed the stadium could have been sold out twice over. The reasons he suggested for this included, "a) it's a novel pairing b) the semi-finals were of a such a high standard that there's big neutral interest and c) the numbers from each county who will travel back to Ireland – both Kerry and Donegal have a very strong overseas presence in the United States particularly but also farther afield."
After Donegal's defeat of All-Ireland champions Dublin confirmed the teams for the final, there was speculation that the counties would wear alternative kits due to the perceived similarities in their traditional county colours. The last time this had occurred on All-Ireland Final day was 2010 when Cork and Down came to a similar arrangement to what occurred when they played in a semi-final of the 1994 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. 2010 represented the first occasion since Kerry and Offaly played in the 1982 final that both teams playing in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final donned alternative strips, while the 1996 final was the last time one team (Meath) wore an alternative strip (versus Mayo). In the event, on 2 September 2014, it was announced that Donegal and Kerry would wear their traditional jerseys.
Kerry trained on Fota Island, while Donegal trained at Lough Erne ahead of the match. Labour politician John Kelly criticised Donegal's decision to, as he put it, “splash out” on training at Lough Erne before the match. Kelly expected Donegal to travel as far south as his Roscommon constituency, located in the Irish midlands. Bundoran-based former politician Michael McMahon criticised Kelly's "partitionist" agenda.
Both teams announced two changes to their starting line-ups.
Kerry announced their team on 18 September, with Marc Ó Sé being recalled to the starting line-up and Kieran Donaghy starting at full-forward. Stephen O'Brien came into the half forward line in place of Michael Geaney. Donega announced their team on 20 September, with Christy Toye and Patrick McBrearty in for Rory Kavanagh and David Walsh. On the day, Toye and McBrearty were named on the bench - though both featured, and indeed scored, later in the game - while Kavanagh and Darach O'Connor started in their place.
Six players from the 2006 All-Ireland minor semi-final meeting of the counties at Croke Park featured in the 2014 senior final. These were Michael Murphy, Leo McLoone and Martin McElhinney (Donegal) and Shane Enright, David Moran and Johnny Buckley (Kerry).
It started off with a quick goal by Kerry. Afterwards, a couple of over the bars by both teams kept it a close game with Kerry always up a point or two. Near the end of the first half, Donegal tied it up. After a minute of extra time in the first half, it was 1-3 Kerry to 0-6 Donegal at half-time.
Heading into the second half, Donegal took a 1-point lead with another over the bar from team captain Michael Murphy, but Kerry quickly answered. Kerry eventually built a small lead with over the bars, and with a one-point lead at 10 minutes left, Kerry scored a goal making it 2-6 to 0-8. Donegal responded with 3 quick over the bars making it 2-6 to 0-11 and the game was on. Kerry hit a couple over the bars in response, and it was 2-8 to 0-12 when 2 minutes of injury time started. Kerry made an over the bar, and with a minute left Donegal marched down the field. Michael Murphy charged straight through the middle of Kerry's blanket defence until they pulled him down. But not before passing the ball to Patrick McBrearty who shimmied, twirled and shot at goal. The Kerry goalkeeper pawed McBrearty's shot into the waiting arms of Colm McFadden, who hit the side bar of the goal for a miss. After a quick player skirmish and a black card for Johnny Buckley, Kerry got the ball, and the final seconds ticked off and Kerry won, 2-9 to 0-12.
Kerry's talented forward James O'Donoghue failed to score a single point in the game. In the closing seconds Barry John Keane made a name for himself by kinocking the ball off the tee on the Donegal goalkeeper to waste precious seconds. This piece of cynical “gamesmanship” was remarked upon by many and became one of the game's most memorable incidents.
21 September 2014
||0-12 - 2-9||Kerry
|M. Murphy (0–04, 3 frees)
C. McFadden (0–01, 1 free)
P. McBrearty (0–02)
O. Mac Niallais (0–01)
K. Lacey (0–01)
N. McGee (0–01)
D. Molloy (0–01)
C. Toye (0–01)
|Report||P. Geaney (1-02, 1 free)
K. Donaghy (1-02)
BJ Keane (0-02, 2 frees)
P. Murphy (0-01)
B. Sheehan (0-01, 1 free)
J. Buckley (0-01)
Rory Hickey (Clare)
Kerry's "wild" celebrations at the final whistle were likened to those of Wimbledon's soccerballers after beating Liverpool in England's 1988 FA Cup Final. The Kerry team celebrated the night of the final at the Clyde Court Hotel where Paul Murphy received his man of the match award. The next day the team departed Heuston Station at 1.45pm for their first stop at Rathmore for the homecoming celebrations before proceeding to Tralee at 6.10pm and then on to Killarney at 9.00pm.
The match was broadcast live internationally.
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- Duggan, Keith (2 September 2014). "Neil McGee: pushing bodies on was key to Dublin upset - ‘We went away to a training camp for four, five days and Jim more or less broke down their game plan and we exploited it’". The Irish Times (Irish Times Trust). p. 2. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
One of the lazier stereotypes about the Donegal defensive game – generally labelled ‘the system’ – is that it somehow does the work on its own. But McGee had plenty of moments in the spotlight with Brogan on Sunday and took his turn roaming forward like the other Donegal back six.
- Moran, Seán (1 September 2014). "Exceptional display by Donegal bursts Dublin's bubble: Jim McGuinness's team rediscover the spirit of 2012 but champions fail to rise to challenge". The Irish Times. p. 3. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
All that remained were the increasingly frantic efforts by Dublin to score something but so wild was the finishing that wides outnumbered scores – a sobering end to what had been expected to be the county's first back-to-back season in 37 years. Instead the two great football outposts of the west-coast extremities will meet for the first time in an All-Ireland final.
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- "5 Talking points ahead of Dublin v Donegal today: The Dubs take on Donegal in a repeat of the 2011 semi-final today at 3.30pm". The Score. 31 August 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
Will the massacre take place the bookies are predicting? The bookies are giving Donegal little chance of pulling off a shock today.
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The point about worldwide exposure is a moot one when, thanks to Australia's terrestrial Channel 7, all 45 Championship games can be watched free of charge there. [...] but why do Irish people there have gratis coverage when those at home don't?