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glory days You've broken up half of this team... now go out and break up half of theirs

In part 2 of this special feature on the 1995 Leinster final Dublin legend Charlie Redmond recalls the disbelief of the fans after the Dubs' ten-point hammering of their arch-rivals.


Myself and Robbie O'Malley of Meath chat to the ref

Myself and Robbie O'Malley of Meath chat to the ref

Myself and Robbie O'Malley of Meath chat to the ref

One of our fans made a beeline for me after the final whistle blew in the 1995 Leinster final.

I knew his face because he was at all the Dublin games - and he's shouting at me… "WE BEAT MEATH BY 10 POINTS!"… and the smile on his face.

It was just… it was everything you wanted from a game. For us, having had 10 years of battle after battle against Meath.

Hard games. Every game that was won, truly won.

The pain… you hit and you got hit, some of it legal, some of it not.

But when every game was over, it was over. Nobody ever said anything, nobody complained.

That morning, I remember saying to my late wife, 'I think we're going to beat them well today … I think we'll win by four points.' Because four points was a big win over Meath then.


When I came out of the dressing room that day I said, 'I was wrong, wasn't I? We beat them by 10'.

But, while I say they were hard, you never wanted to miss those games.

If you don't want to play against Meath then you shouldn't be playing for Dublin, and if you didn't want to play against Dublin, then you shouldn't be playing for Meath.

It was an annual event, and you didn't want to be anywhere else other than on the field in Croke Park when those games got under way.

After that game in 1995, we thought we had put Meath away for a while.

Someone said to me in Hanlon's, and it wasn't one of the players, I might add … 'We won't be seeing them for a while'.

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There was a perception that it might take Meath a couple of years to recover. It took them a couple of months.

I only realised last year, when I was talking to Colm (O'Rourke) that it was his last game, as it was for Robbie O'Malley and Staff (Brian Stafford).

There was something different about that year, and that Leinster final definitely added to the feeling. Colm told me after the All-Ireland final in 1995 that he knew after the Leinster final that we'd go all the way.

He said to me that when we started to get on top (in the Leinster final) and went three or four points up, that he felt like he had to do something.

So, he gave Paddy Moran a bit of a belt, and Paddy hit the deck.

Colm was getting on with the game … 10 seconds later he gets a tap on the shoulder, and there's Paddy smiling back at him.

Colm said that was the moment he knew we'd win the All-Ireland that year.

He had come up against Dublin countless times, so he obviously felt there was a harder edge to us that year.

But then Paddy Moran was a tough nut. We were training in Parnell Park one night in 1994, and Paddy put Niall Guiden over the wall with a shoulder.

The day before the All-Ireland final in 1995, we had a team meeting.

Manager Pat O'Neill was going through the team and giving some instructions. 'Now John (O'Leary), keep communication clear, make sure you're talking to the lads… Ciarán (Walsh), stay close to your man, don't give away any soft frees…' All the usual stuff. Then he comes to Paddy.

'Paddy… Paddy… Paddy (exasperated)… I don't know what to say to you. You've broken up half of this team, now go out and break up half of theirs, will ya.'

I will always maintain that if I'm putting out a Dublin team that I want to go into battle with,Paddy Moran would be my No 1 every day of the week.

In the immediate aftermath of the Meath game, a few reporters were in the dressing room.

I didn't mind doing media stuff, but I wasn't too keen on it that day because I wanted to get out and get up to my dad.

I left Croke Park pretty much straight after the game to go up to the hospital, only for him to tell me that Gerry McEntee (surgeon and Meath great) had stuck his head in that morning to make sure everything was okay.

Gerry heard what had happened. It just shows you that the tentacles of the GAA reach into every sector of life. There was a fella ….. we were beating lumps out of one another for years, but there he was checking that my father was okay. It says it all, really.

My father was an awful lot better at that stage. We didn't stay too long because he was a bit tired. He got out a couple of days after and he was a bit shook, but he was okay.

From a very early age when I was taking the frees, a fella called Pat Timmons out in Erin's Isle always told me to point the pip as he called it - the valve - 130' towards the goal.

Then as the years went by, I would hit a few for the club. I wasn't a particularly good free-taker, and I wasn't taking them for Dublin because obviously Barney (Rock) was the man.

For one of the Leinster finals, though, Barney was injured and I ended up taking a few frees. I think I hit the post with one, and dropped another one short.

I wouldn't have considered myself a free-taker and I didn't practise frees at that stage.

Barney getting injured made me realise… Well, someone is going to have to step up, so it might as well be me.

I started practising probably around 1991, and I hit a few frees during the four games with Meath.

I hadn't really developed a style at that stage though. I had a strong leg, and I could get plenty of distance. I wasn't always that accurate, but I became accurate because I worked at it.

When I started practising and I had the valve pointing at the goal, I realised that the two O'Neill's logos were on either side, and so the way I looked at it was there were six panels on the ball.

Four going around it as a square, and the one on the top and bottom. I looked at it like there were corners on the ball, which probably sounds strange, but that was the way I thought about it… and the ball was always placed in the same way from that point on.

Once I had settled on the position of the ball, I then had to think about my position in relation to the ball and the posts.

So over time, I figured out what I felt comfortable with and what worked best in terms of getting a good contact on the ball… that was the seven steps back, three to the left, and then of course there was the little shimmy on the way up to get the bend on the ball.

The other stuff came over time.

Pulling at the knicks came from Peter Dods, who was a Scottish rugby player, who used to take their penalties and he would pull at his shorts as part of his kicking routine, so I picked that up from him.

The licking of the fingers? I've no idea where that came from. People used to say to me I'd lick both hands, but it was only my right hand.

I've only realised that in recent years when I saw some old footage. I thought I used to lick both hands, too.

I don't know where it came from… it was just one of those things that became a routine and I didn't think about it, it became muscle memory.

The practice sessions were the same. I'd have eight balls.

Always eight balls. Wayne (McCarthy) would be behind the goals, and I'd hit eight from the one spot and he wouldn't kick them back out until I'd hit all eight.

Then I'd move to another spot and he'd kick the balls back out to me.

We'd do that for 50 minutes, three times a week, and we'd work on different things - like kicking into the wind, bending the ball from left to right, keeping it low … just to try to cover all eventualities.

I was always tinkering a little bit.

My style was different to Barney's in that he was quite a straight-on kicker.

The way he kicked it had much less margin for error than me, but that's a testament to how good he was, because he was so accurate and rarely missed.

With Barney's technique, if you didn't hit it perfectly, then it could go wrong.

For me, I gave myself as big a margin for error as I could. I could kick it badly and I might still get away with it and it'd go over.

It's interesting then to look back at Jimmy Keaveney's style.

He was kind of in between me and Barney. He was more straight-on than me, but not as straight-on as Barney.

The interesting thing at that time was that pretty much every team had one man who was the recognised free-taker.


Veteran Colm O'Rourke of Meath is surrounded by Dublin players (from left) Paul Bealin, Paddy Moran, Brian Stynes and Paul Clarke

Veteran Colm O'Rourke of Meath is surrounded by Dublin players (from left) Paul Bealin, Paddy Moran, Brian Stynes and Paul Clarke

Veteran Colm O'Rourke of Meath is surrounded by Dublin players (from left) Paul Bealin, Paddy Moran, Brian Stynes and Paul Clarke

Brian Stafford for Meath, Mikey Sheehy for Kerry, Larry Tompkins for Cork. It's the same now in some cases, but not to the same extent.

You might see two or three different lads hitting frees in a game, depending on the distance or whatever.

Some people felt back then that certain lads would suffer in open play if the frees weren't going well for them.

Generally, I was able to keep the two things separate.

I would take consolation from the fact that I might not get the ball into my hands for 15 minutes, but if we got a free, I'd score it.

That happened many times.

A lot of people thought that 10-point win over Meath would give us the springboard to go on and win the All-Ireland, but that definitely wasn't the case.

We had reached the final in 1992 and '94, and lost both. What's more important than a Leinster final is who you play in the semi-final.

We played Clare in 1992 and Leitrim in '94. With all due respect, they were both comfortable wins for us.

So we were going into an All-Ireland final having not had a testing game in maybe seven weeks or however long it had been since the Leinster final.

But in 1995, we had Cork in the semi-final and we knew that would be a tough game.

The Meath game stood to us going into the Cork game, but the Cork game really stood to us in the final.

This is an extract from "Game of My Life' in which 25 ex-Dublin players remember the game that will live with them forever. 'Game of my Life' co-written by David Sheehan is published by Hero Books.

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