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Watch: Fionn Fitzgerald Ends Winning Speech With Rousing Tribute To Gooch

Watch: Fionn Fitzgerald Ends Winning Speech With Rousing Tribute To Gooch
By Gavan Casey Updated

Dublin were denied a sixth consecutive league title and 37th consecutive fixture without defeat as a ferocious Kerry brought 'The Streak' to an end by the narrowest of margins at Croke Park.

In a pulsating encounter, The Kingdom would be forced to survive a six-point swing late on. Leading by four, Philly McMahon defended an otherwise open goal with a stunning block. After a Kerry wide from the resulting 45, and Dublin marched up the other end and netted through Paul Mannion to reduce the deficit to a single score.

Such is the debilitating psychological grip that Dublin enjoy over their opposition, Kerry - having seen their lead cut similar to countless victims on Dublin's extraordinary two-year run - were suddenly missing opportunities they had been knocking over earlier in the game.

Diarmuid Connolly was black carded for the second consecutive fixture for an extremely blatant off-the-ball pull-down in the first half - this just moments after Kerry's Jonathan Lyne was black-carded for a foul on Connolly himself.

But in a week which saw Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice call for 'balance' in the media's portrayal of Dublin's dabbling in the dark arts, it was his own Anthony Maher who saw black for the game's most blatant, cynical, and indeed understandable foul - a diving coattail grab as Dublin pushed for the equalising score in the 95th minute.

As Dean Rock's free-in hit the post and dropped short, referee Paddy Neilan blew the final whistle, and 'The Streak' was no more. Kerry inflicted upon Dublin their first league or Championship defeat since, well, Kerry beat them in March 2015, meaning the longest undefeated streak in competitive inter-county history comes to an end at 36 games, two more than Kerry's historic run 84 years ago.

David Moran was a deserved man of the match for Kerry after a colossal display at Croker, while captain Fionn Fitzgerald saved the best for last in his victory speech.

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"...and the week that's in it," Fitzgerald concluded, "I'm sure Kerry and Dublin fans, and everyone around the world, would like to acknowledge what a legend Gooch was, and what a loss he'll be to the GAA." Cue one of the loudest roars of the evening.

The Kingdom, the power, and some glory, then, belong to Kerry after a compelling clash between two old foes.

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