2002 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final

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2002 All-Ireland Football Final
Event 2002 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship
Date 22 September 2002
Venue Croke Park, Dublin
Man of the Match Oisín McConville
Referee John Bannon (Kildare)
Attendance c.80,000

The 2002 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final was the 115th All-Ireland Final and showpiece game of the 2002 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship which began on 5 May 2002. It took place at Croke Park on 22 September 2002.

The final, which was a replay of the 1953 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final, involved the teams from Kerry and Armagh. Kerry were attempting to win their 33rd All-Ireland whilst Armagh, competing in a final on only the third occasion were trying to capture the championship for the first time.

Road to the Final

Kerry were at the time, and remain, the most successful county in terms of number of championships won. Armagh on the other hand, whilst having dominated Ulster for the last number of years, had never gone the whole way to capturing the Sam Maguire Cup. The two counties last championship meeting was in the 2000 All-Ireland Semi-Final, the first game ending in a draw and the Kerry going on to win the replay and subsequently the Championship.

Armagh's campaign started in St. Tiernach's Park, Clones where they drew Tyrone 1-12 each, Armagh won the replay a week later 2-13 to 0-16. In the Ulster Semi-final they overran Fermanagh by double scores 0-16 to 1-05 and the Ulster Final saw them play Donegal on 7 July, a match which they won 1-14 to 1-10.

Kerry's provincial campaign was not as successful however, losing to Cork in the semi-final 0-15 to 1-09. As a result, they entered Round 2 of the All-Ireland Qualifiers and subsequently dismissed Wicklow 5-15 to 0-07. The next round saw them face Fermanagh, who had already been defeated by Armagh. Fermanagh again proved impotent as Kerry steamrolled them 2-15 to 0-04. Kildare, their opponents in the fourth and final Qualifier game were beaten double scores 2-10 to 1-05.

All-Ireland Series

Armagh faced Sligo, the beaten Connacht finalists, in the All-Ireland Quarter Final. The first game in Croke Park ended in a 2-09 to 0-15 draw leading many pundits, especially Pat Spillane to believe that Armagh would continue to falter on the Croke Park stage. This was not helped by the fact that Armagh won the replay in Navan.

Meeting Leinster Champions Dublin in the semi-final on 1 September would be Armagh's biggest test to date. With the game level 0-06 to 0-06 at the interval[[1]] Armagh and Dublin traded scores throughout the second half with neither team having more than a two-point lead at any time, except the brief thirty or so seconds between Armagh's goal and Dublin's almost immediate response. With the game hanging in the balance Armagh's fragile lead was threatened by a free-kick, taken by Dublin star Ray Cosgrove, which ultimately hit the post sending Dublin crashing out and Armagh through to their first final since 1977 by a score of 1-14 to 1-13.

Kerry faced reigning All-Ireland and Connacht Champions Galway in their quarter finals, dismissing the holders 2-17 to 1-12. In a replay of the Munster semi-final Kerry again faced Cork in the All-Ireland equivalent, this time beating the Lee-siders convincingly 3-19 to 2-07.

The Final

Armagh 1-12 - 0-14 Kerry
O McConville 1-2 S McDonnell, R Clarke, D Marsden 0-3 each, J McEntee 0-1 Report D O Cinneide 0-5, M F Russell 0-3, C Cooper, L Hassett 0-2 each, E Fitzmaurice, E Brosnan 0-1 each
Referee: J. Bannon (Longford)

First Half

Stephen McDonnell opened the scoring for Armagh in the second minute and Kerry forward Mike Frank Russell replied a minute later. McDonnell scored again for Armagh and Ronan Clarke added a third. With Kerry two points down scores from Colm Cooper, Eoin Brosnan and Russell gave Kerry a one-point lead after 15 minutes. Ronan Clarke pulled the game level for Armagh before two points from Dara Ó Cinnéide and a point apiece for Eamonn Fitzmaurice and Liam Hassett put some daylight between the teams. After trading scores for a while Armagh were five points down when Armagh forward Óisin McConville was pulled down by three Kerry defenders under the Canal End and given a penalty however Armagh hopes were dashed as a poor kick was saved by Kerry 'keeper Declan O'Keeffe. A point from Armagh man Diarmuid Marsden gave the Orchard Boys a small glimmer of hope but they went in trailing at the break 0-11 to 0-07.

Second Half

Armagh were late to arrive on the pitch and kept the Kerry team waiting almost 5 minutes as they received a spirited team talk from manager and defeated 1977 finalist Joe Kernan. Kernan showed the team the memento[2] he had received as a player in the '77 final after Armagh were defeated by Dublin and warned the players that they would face a similar fate if they failed to turn the game around.

Marsden and Ó Cinnéide again traded points and a free kick from McConville reduced the deficit to three. Hassett and McConville scored and the Armaghman converted a 45-metre free, Kerry's last score of the day came as Ó Cinnéide pointed again on 54 minutes.

In the 55th minute McConville charged through the Kerry back-line, played a one-two with teammate Paul McGrane and buried the ball past O'Keeffe in the Kerry net sending Hill 16 into uproar and reducing Kerry's lead to a solitary point. Scores from Ronan Clarke and Steven McDonnell, who had scored the first point of the day, were enough to give Armagh the lead for the first time since the opening stages of the game. Armagh held on for the last ten minutes and that was enough to give the Orchard County their first Championship.


Two weeks previously at the Hurling Final the Liam MacCarthy Cup was awarded to Kilkenny on a podium in the centre of the pitch whilst Cliff Richard's "Congratulations" was played over the public address system. On John Bannon's final whistle Armagh fans were determined that their first All-Ireland win would not be celebrated in the same way and thousands encroached onto the pitch, many climbing the fences from the Hill 16 end where McConville had scored his goal until stewards relented and opened the gates. Armagh captain Kieran McGeeney lifted the Sam Maguire from the Hogan Stand to a sea of orange and white and dedicated the win to the long-suffering Armagh fans whose hopes had been dashed on so many occasions over the years.


  1. ^ http://www.rte.ie/sport/2002/0901/armagh.htmllink title
  2. ^ "Joe Meets Sam" by Jerome Quinn - Kernan stated that he showed the team his wooden runners's up memento at half time
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