Robert Finnerty's strut up to the penalty spot was the stuff of legend 1 month ago

Robert Finnerty's strut up to the penalty spot was the stuff of legend

Ethan Rafferty raised his hands as if to tell the Armagh fans to lift it and, seconds later, and not for the first time on Sunday, chants of 'Armagh, Armagh, Armagh' nearly raised the roof.

This was an absolute mad house.


If you were in the press box and you looked to your right hand side, you'd have seen that, as enthusiastic as the day they were born, a bunch of Mayo fans were leading the chorus but that's besides the point. Croke Park was on stilts, and Armagh were alive.

Rian O'Neill had just brought them back into it by nailing his spot kick and so, as the dice rolled back to Galway, you could feel your heart beating to the tension if it all. A Galway fan behind us had his head on his actual knees.

The big screen turned to Rob Finnerty then and amidst all the chaos, and with everyone around him losing their minds, you just had to laugh. Here he was strolling up to the 13 yard line cooler than a fish's fart. He resembled a man trying to kill time in a shopping centre because the fact of the matter was that he couldn't have walked any slower if he tried.

It had shades of Andrea Pirlo vs Joe Hart all those years ago because, just like the Italian, you could tell before the act that the Salthill Knocknacarra man was never going to miss.


He eventually decided - why not - to stroke it into the top corner and with the job done, and with Galway half-way home, he breezed back to the boys with a big shit-eating grin on his face. The only surprise, if you're big into body language, was that he didn't go for a Panenka down the middle but this was an exhibition from Finnerty, who was in control from start to finish.

It was absolute gold but then again, that was a word you'd use to describe his whole performance. Armagh were the livelier team - that was the analysis at half-time - but Galway were more measured in their play. Measured is one of those adjective that is often used as a stick to beat Gaelic football teams with but with Finnerty in their team, Galway had every reason to be measured.


What was the point in forcing the thing or hitting shots that weren't on when they could just work the ball to this sharp-shooter, who could find space in a non-priority Ryanair cabin. He ended his day with 0-4 from play, one less than he managed in the Connacht final but just like the Connacht final, he kept tacking on the scores just when Galway needed them.

On the day, Matthew Tierney and Paul Conroy and Cillian McDaid all managed to shoot-on-sight effectively but nobody did it as consistently as Rob Finnerty. Who was the epitome of class from start to finish.