Cluxton Gives Dublin All-Ireland Glory – On This Day, 10 Years Ago

Dublin GAA 2011

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On this day 10 years ago, Stephen Cluxton put a late free-kick between the sticks against Kerry in the 2011 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship final to seal a first title in 16 years for Dublin.

Dublin had reached their first final since 1995 after a low-scoring win over Ulster champions Donegal in the semi-final.

RTÉ Sunday Game pundit Pat Spillane famously called what Donegal played on that day “Shi’ite football.”

Kerry, on the other hand, beat Connacht champions Mayo to seal a first All-Ireland final date with Dublin since their 1985 win over the county.

Dublin were a side that had failed to crack the glass ceiling and show up when it mattered in the decade previous, having fallen short at the semi-final stage four times.

Kerry had won five All-Ireland’s in that span and were searching for a sixth since 2004 to continue their era of dominance.

Kerry started brightly when Declan O’Sullivan fisted the ball over in the second minute to give them the game’s first score.

Dublin forward Alan Brogan equalised nine minutes later before Colm Cooper found the net for the Munster champions.

However, Dublin turned the tables on the 2009 All-Ireland winners by half-time and went down the tunnel with a slim one-point lead (0-06 to 1-02).

Dublin continued their vein of form with two points early in the second half but Kerry fought their way back into the lead and had the momentum firmly in their favour.

Kevin McManamon came on for Paul Flynn in the 56th minute but by the 64th minute, his side were four points down and another year of hurt for fans of the boys in blue was on the cards.

McManamon swung the momentum back in Dublin’s favour after receiving a handpass from Alan Brogan, as he sidestepped his marker and put the ball in the back of the Kerry net in front of the hill.

Kevin Nolan and Bernard Brogan added points to put Pat Gilroy’s side in the lead with two minutes to go.

Kerry full-forward Kieran Donaghy equalised in injury time but a late foul on McManamon left fate up to Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton.

Cluxton stepped up to take the free and, with ice in his veins, sealed their first All-Ireland win in 16 years.

The side went on to win seven more All-Ireland titles over the course of the next decade and have only lost three times in championship football since.

The period of dominance may be over after an uninspiring 2021 season but it will never be forgotten.

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