Croke Park was buzzing with anticipation yesterday evening for the All-Ireland quarter-final between Dublin and Tyrone. Kate and I went along in the rain to see the Dubs do battle with the men from the North - many of whom have All-Ireland medals in their pockets.
|Photo link from Irish Times by Ryan Byrne/Inpho.
Heavy rain was predicted and sure enough our seats in the Davin Stand (Row M) were right under the edge of the roof in the open. We were glad that we were wearing windcheaters and that we had brought along pull-ups - quite the clever fans we were. We had a good giggle at those who came along in t-shirts and skimpy tops. However, the rain stopped by half-time.
Dublin blew away the Tyrone challenge with a display of power, tenacity, and skill - there was really only one team in it for most of the match. Dublin players were first to the ball on almost every occasion with first class performances from Alan and Bernard Brogan, Diarmuid Connolly, Ger Brennan, and Barry Cahill. With Donegal to come in the semi-finals, many will feel that a date with Kerry in the final is a certainty (though I'm sure that Mayo and Donegal will have something to say about this). On this form, Dublin will take some beating - but be aware that Tyrone were but a shadow of their former selves - we may have seen the last of greats like Stephen O'Neill and Brian Dooher in Croke Park.
I've been to see Dublin in Croke Park five times this year - they are getting better all the time. If they get to the final to meet Kerry, there will be much hype and comparisons with the finals in the 1970s and 1980s. This is also the time when it is difficult to get tickets. I hope to get to the Kerry vs Mayo semi-final, which may not be a full house - but without any connections to people who control the tickets, it will be difficult to get to the Dublin matches. I think the last All-Ireland final I was at was in 1979 (Dub vs Kerry).