Gaelic Football

24 Jul

Two weeks after watching Dublin defeat Galway in an intense upset victory to secure the county’s first Leinster Senior Men’s Hurling Championship since 1961, a group of us decided to experience the Gaelic Athletic Association’s other primary sport, Gaelic Football, as Dublin once again attempted a Leinster Senior Championship against County Meath. The match was highly anticipated, as while Dublin was not expected to prevail in hurling, the Dublin football team is traditionally one of the most dominant in the province, so the circumstances gave Dublin a legitimate shot at completing its first double Leinster senior championship since 1942. This, coupled with the fact that county Meath is much closer to Dublin than Galway, resulted in an absolutely electric atmosphere in Croke Park, with 50,000 attendees as opposed to the 32,000 that had turned out to watch hurling.
In addition to the more exciting climate in the stadium, the Leinster Football final presented a much more exciting matchup. Meath struck out to an early lead with 2 points within the first 2 minutes of the match. Dublin answered right away with a point of their own as well as a goal, to establish a lead that they held until the last 5 minutes of the half, when a series of points by Meath put the county ahead of Dublin by 2 at the break. However, the Dublin manager must have come up with a heck of a half time speech, as the second half was all Dublin. The boys in blue quickly regained the lead, and with the exception of a Meath run late in the second period would continue to build upon that margin to win healthily 2-13 to 1-13.
I very much enjoyed both Gaelic Athletic events that we attended, as I feel that both are extremely reflective of the rich Celtic cultural traditions from which they stem. Although I didn’t know much about either sport before coming to Ireland, I greatly admired the athleticism and determination that they require from the players. I also found them honestly as or more enjoyable to watch than equivalent American sports, and I definitely plan to follow both Dublin teams online as they continue their quests to the All-Ireland Championship, as well as into the future. Up the Dubs!

Gaelic football

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