Nice and Snappy – Dáire Brennan

Sportsfile Images of the Year 2011

On this All-Ireland Football Final week, we are taking a look back at some of the personal favourite pictures of our photographers from finals past. Now it’s the turn of Dáire Brennan.

My favourite football final picture is from 2011. I am a Dublin supporter, and I was too young to remember ’95, so 2011 was a special occasion when Dublin beat Kerry.

Dublin were four points down with 10 minutes to go. A Kevin McManamon goal and Kevin Nolan point drew them level before goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton sent over the winner in the last minute.

The minute after the referee blows the final whistle in an All-Ireland Final is the busiest time of the year for me. From my vantage point up high in the Hogan Stand, I try to capture as many different emotions as possible in a short space of time. I frantically move the camera around the pitch trying to get winning players celebrating or dejected losing players. It is not until much later that I see what exactly I got.

This picture shows the graciousness of the defeated Tomás Ó Sé. He had just lost an All-Ireland Final by one point, but he still sought out Stephen Cluxton to present him the match ball. Cluxton was dumbstruck after the game. He did not celebrate with the other players, and he left the pitch before the presentation. In the picture Cian O’Sullivan is trying to celebrate with him, but Cluxton did not respond. He shook hands with Ó Sé but he then kicked the ball into the Hogan Stand, so some lucky supporter has a souvenir from the famous day.

This picture is important to me because it has been widely used to show the sportsmanship of GAA players, it was used in Sportsfile’s ‘A Season of Sundays’, and recounts Dublin’s famous win and the actions of two of the game’s great players after the match.