"Coming off the field there, I just had a word with Ciaran Kilkenny" - O'Connor hails Kilkenny after pulling the fat out of the fire
Ciaran Kilkenny hit a wide in the first half that, of all people, you just did not expect Ciaran Kilkenny to hit.
It was high, it was a drifter and, for a finish, it was wider than a proverbial gate. And that is not one bit like him.
Because he's bomb-proof, usually, and he barely ever makes mistakes but that was the story of his and, as Kerry got on top of them, it was the story of Dublin's first half.
And you were just sitting there wondering, as Sean O'Shea stood over a penalty to put Kerry seven points up, and if he was to score it, if this was the end of Dublin. You were wondering if the guard was changing before our eyes.
But O'Shea missed his penalty and Dublin had their life-line. And that was all they needed.
The breeze may have played a part in that sluggish start as did the lack of a certain Mr. Con O'Callaghan but whether they were in or out or whatever was wrong with them, there's no denying the fact that it was a completely different Dublin team in the second half. It was the Dublin of old.
And, as we've seen so many times down through years, it was Ciaran Kilkenny and James McCarthy and Brian Fenton - to a lesser extent on this occasion - who brought them back. Kilkenny had been quietened by the tigerish Brian Begley in the first half but an actual tiger wouldn't have quietened him in the second half. He scored three game-changing points and he put his county on his back and that was why it really hit home when Kerry manager Jack O'Connor commiserated with him after the game.
The Castleknock player was on his way towards the dressing room only for O'Connor to run after him to pay him a few complimentary words.
Lovely moment as Jack O’Connor seeked out Ciaran Kilkenny after the final whistle 🙌
“I just had a word with Ciaran Kilkenny coming off the field there, when the fat was in the fire, the game that man had was savage,” he said after. pic.twitter.com/PbdowrjMLO
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) July 11, 2022
"Coming off the field there, I just had a word with Ciaran Kilkenny," O'Connor said afterwards in his interview with Damien Lawlor.
"When the fat was in the fire the game that man had in the last quarter was savage.
"Even though the man that was marking him for us Brian Begley had a tremendous game for us, Kilkenny has always been their go-to man and he was very, very good and very dangerous late on."
The same could have been said about James McCarthy who thundered into the game when 'the fat was in the fire.' He kicked one of the points of the day and followed it up, on the next kick-out, with a powerful punch that set-up Kilkenny for the levelling score.
"Into the wind, Hill 16, it doesn't get much tougher than that"
Jack O'Connor hails Sean O'Shea's winning score as he also graciously lauds the Dublin effort against Kerry #sundaygame pic.twitter.com/lNsdqYj90L
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) July 10, 2022
These men have been doing it for this great Dublin team for years and it looks like they're not done yet.