Immortality awaits for potential Dublin double

by Cóilín Duffy

Former Dublin footballer Paul Casey is hoping that the men’s Footballers can finish the job against Kerry in Saturday’s All-Ireland Final replay and complete the “five-in-a-row” on a unique weekend in the capital

Casey has a huge weekend ahead, switching between fan on Saturday, to key coach on Sunday for the ladies football final and their bid for a third successive crown.

“It’s a Festival of Football in Dublin this weekend. You take the six teams involved on Ladies Finals Day on Sunday, and then Kerry and Dublin involved,” Casey said.

“There’s so many people who will have an interest in both games.”
Looking to the men’s game, he wasn’t surprised by Kerry’s strong showing in the drawn encounter, with strong underage pedigree beginning to show through.

The Kingdom have claimed the previous five All-Ireland Minor Football titles.

“That Kerry team have won five Minor titles in a row, and those players were eventually going to come through,” he told the Dublin Gazette.

“They live and breathe their football down in Kerry. They showed during the league that they were able to go toe-to-toe with Dublin.

“They got to the league final, and probably learned an awful lot from that defeat to Mayo.”

Casey says that Kerry have been continuing to impress as the Championship rolled on.

“They have been coming good, and they are going to gain even more confidence knowing now that they can go toe-to-toe with Dublin on the biggest day of the year,” he said.

“It’s going to be fascinating the next day to see what way the individual battles pan out, and we are in for a really good game.”

Having soldiered for Dublin in defence for over a decade, including as a 2011 All-Ireland winning panellist, Casey has a keen eye on what happens at the back.

He’s been impressed with Jack McCaffrey’s effort and drive in recent years.

“Jack could probably play in any position on the pitch,” Casey said.

“I think he has been pound-for-pound the best footballer in Ireland in the last few years, and he’s having a superb run of form at the moment.

“Jack has worked really, really hard to get to the level he’s at. He also has his professional career, and he is a very driven guy and it’s great to watch him.

“Croke Park – the biggest stage of all with 82,000 people, whether Dublin or Kerry; they have to enjoy watching Jack McCaffrey and, hopefully, he’ll have another big game on Saturday.”

There was shades of the 2011 All-Ireland decider against Kerry, as Dean Rock stepped over a late free in this year’s drawn decider.

Stephen Cluxton landed a late winner back in 2011 against the Kingdom to ensure a first All-Ireland title since 1995 for the Dubs.

“Dean could take 20 of those and score 18 of them,” Casey said.

“I always remember Stephen Cluxton saying the comforting thing about standing up to take that kick in 2011 was, that if he missed it we were going to get another shot at it anyway – if it goes over it’s a huge bonus.

“I know Dean is probably the most reliable free-taker in the country, and I hope he’ll have another high-scoring ratio the next day again.

“Hopefully, we can sit down in the middle of Winter and watch both [the men’s and women’s] games and reflect on what hopefully has been a great weekend for Dublin!,” he said.

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