Dignity in Defeat – This Is Magnificent

This is magnificent. An All Ireland Gaelic Football Final between arch enemies Dublin and Kerry went all the way before it was won by the Dubs in the last second of the match in front of 82,500 fans. With the game over, the defeated young Kerry player retrieved the ball, carried it up the pitch and presented it to the victorious Dublin goalkeeper who had kicked the winning point.


Photo: Dáire Brennan / SPORTSFILE – click to get prints of this photo

The score was level at 1-11 each (i.e. 14 points each with 1 goal worth 3 points + 11 points across the bar). With just seconds left on the clock, Dublin won a free kick 45 yards out. The Dublin goal keeper Stephen Cluxton, jogged and marched towards what would be the biggest free kick of his life. The referee urged him to speed it up. Time was ticking away. He kicked it over the bar and clean through the posts. Croke Park erupted. Then the final whistle blew and after a 16 year wait Dublin had finally won the Sam Maguire Cup.

As the Dubs fell into rapturous celebrations a young Kerry player, Tomás Ó’Sé, fetched the ball, carried it up the pitch and presented it to the Dublin keeper. What a great gesture of true sportsmanship. What a great player Tomás Ó’Sé is. Congrats to the Dubs, my home town – am delighted but we also acknowledge the dignity and greatness of Kerry’s Tomás Ó’Sé   – he too has found greatness.

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8 Responses to Dignity in Defeat – This Is Magnificent

  1. Eamonn Conlon September 27, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

    Well spotted Smithy. Did you hear the Dub midfielder’s comment to Marty Morrissey straight after the game – “the belief in that dressing room is unbelievable”.

  2. alex forwood December 9, 2011 at 1:37 am #

    this is a great example o sportsmanship it shows that even arch enemys will bow down in defeat if the win is fair.

  3. Shane February 4, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    At 32 im sure Mark O se would be dlighted to be called ‘young’ but on a fairer note, Mark showed great sportsmanship here. Any truth that Cluxton didnt keep the ball?

    • J.P. McCarthy May 21, 2014 at 9:20 am #

      It is Tomás O Sé not Mark… to be pedantic… it’s not Mark, it’s Marc.

  4. prsmith February 4, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

    Yes Shane, Cluxton, in the excitement of it all, subsequently kicked the ball into the crowd. I learned today from TV comedian Dara Ó Briain (who is a Gaelic football fan) that Cluxton later phoned ‘young’ O’Shea to thank him for his fine sportsmanship gesture.

    • Shane February 5, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

      i would well believe that Cluxton did that, he is such a great sportsman. No fuss, he just does his job.


  1. 2011 Top 10 Sportsmanship Moments | Great Moments Of Sportsmanship - June 12, 2012

    […] Young Kerry Gaelic football Tomás Ó’Sé after the final whistle carried the ball as a souvenir to the Dublin goal keeper who kicked the winning point in 2011 All Ireland Gaelic Final. Caught on camera!  More […]

  2. Sportsmanship Is Never far Away | Great Moments Of Sportsmanship - April 27, 2013

    […] See 2012 All Ireland Final Crowd Atmosphere & a sublime sportsmanship moment (caught on camera) from one of the youngest, if not the youngest, player in the All Ireland Final last year – called ‘Dignity In Defeat’. […]

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