History beckons as Dublin bid to complete their ‘Drive for Five’

By Hayden Moore

HISTORY beckons as Dublin attempt to take the final step on the road to becoming the very first county in the 134 history of the GAA to win the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship for a fifth year running.

They roared to four last year with a victory over Tyrone, and this year Jim Gavin’s troops will attempt to topple the Kingdom in Sunday’s decider in Croke Park.

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Clondalkin man Jim Gavin will be hoping to lead his Dublin team to an unprecedented five All-Ireland Senior Football Championship titles in a row when they take on Kerry in the final in Croke Park on Sunday.

Dublin met Kerry already this year in what was the 50th league meeting between them back in February, and the Blues fell victim to a late, late Peter Crowley point as they lost by the minimum.

But since then, the Blues have been gaining momentum, particularly in Championship, as they kicked massive scores against Louth, Kildare and Meath on their way to winning a 14th Leinster title in 15 years.

The Dublin train kept on rolling into the Super 8s as they steamed through Cork, Roscommon and Tyrone before rocketing past Mayo in the semi-finals to set-up the showpiece with Kerry.

This decade, Dublin have engaged in an unprecedented run of form that has seen the Sam Maguire taken to the capital six times since 2011.

While they will be firm favourites to make history this weekend, there is certainly no shortage of motivation for Peter Keane’s men who harbour a huge desire to enhance their county’s legacy in this competition.

Before the Blues lifted Sam last year, the record for the most All-Ireland titles in succession was Kerry’s with four-in-a-row between 1978 and ’81 and now the only team that can stop Dublin from standing alone as record holders is the Kingdom.

Just over 10-years-ago, the Kingdom thumped Pat Gilroy’s Dublin in the All-Ireland quarter-final to win by 17-points, but since then, the Blues have invested in their underage development to bring through a huge amount of talent.

Two years on from that loss, Dublin beat Kerry away for the first time in 28 years with young guns such as Ballyboden St Enda’s Michael Darragh Macauley and St Jude’s Kevin McManamon taking centre stage.

The introduction of McManamon in 2010 would prove instrumental a year later, when he broke Kerry hearts with a goal to bring the national title back for the first time in 16 years.

Every year since then, Dublin have added top-calibre talent with Jack McCaffrey and Ciaran Kilkenny following Gavin into the senior squad in the wake of the county’s Under-21 success in 2012.

Johnny Cooper and Dean Rock followed suit in 2013 as did Brian Fenton, Con O’Callaghan, Templeogue Synge Street’s Niall Scully and Boden’s Colm Basquel every year since.

While Dublin boast massive strength-in-depth, Kerry do possess a frontline well capable of unlocking the Blues backline, with superstar David Clifford possibly the key in their bid to beat Dublin for the first time in 10 years in the championship.

See how The excitement is building ahead of this Sunday’s All-Ireland Senior Football Final between Dublin and Kerry in Croke Park.

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