GAA Editor @BrianGBarry
Top 10 Gaelic football moments of 2018
Last Updated: 26/12/18 3:19pm
With time ticking on 2018, we look back on the Gaelic football year that was, and pick out the top 10 moments we've witnessed in the last 12 months.
10. Kieran Molloy's hectic schedule
The young half-back had a unique Saturday afternoon in February, when lining up for club side Corofin in the All-Ireland semi-final in Tullamore. It was thought that such a commitment would rule him out of the Sigerson Cup final, after he had helped NUIG reach the decider against UCD. However, following Corofin's win over Moorefield, Molloy quickly made his way to Dublin to come on as a second-half substitute for the Galway college's final loss.
Although Molloy's schedule raised a serious question surrounding fixtures, it was nonetheless a memorable situation.
9. Seán Cox fundraiser
Some considerable time after the searing heat and liquid football of high summer, there was a touching show of solidarity in Navan earlier in December as the GAA community turned out in their thousands to support one of their own.
All-Ireland champions Dublin faced Leinster rivals Meath at Páirc Tailteann to raise funds for Liverpool fan Seán Cox, the Dunboyne man who suffered life-altering injuries in an incident before a Champions League tie at Anfield in April.
8. Waterford stun Wexford
While the Déise were far from aiming for Munster or All-Ireland titles, this was a major achievement for the side who recorded their first qualifier win since 2011.
The scenes at full-time summed up what it meant to Tom McGlinchey's men, as they stunned their southeast neighbours.
7. Fermanagh shock Monaghan
With Donegal on the opposite side of the draw and Tyrone already vanquished in the quarter-final, many believed that Monaghan only had to turn up in the Ulster semi-final to reach the decider. Given that they were caught on the hop at the semi-final stage 12 months previous, it was anticipated that Malachy O'Rourke's side would sweep Fermanagh aside.
However, Rory Gallagher's plucky underdogs hung in there throughout, and timed their run to perfection as a late Eoin Donnelly goal sent them into the provincial decider.
6. Farney end 30-year wait
Quarter-finals seemed to be a glass ceiling for the Farney County in recent times, as four losses this decade meant they were unable to reach a first All-Ireland semi-final since 1988.
However, the dawn of the Super 8s brought a new opportunity, and an opening win over Kildare laid a platform for the Ulster side. Although their hopes were dented by a late Kerry goal in Clones (which features later on this list), they regrouped to double-score a fancied Galway side the following weekend to top the group and qualify for the final four.
5. Carlow rise to beat Kildare
Perhaps the shock of the summer came when Carlow faced off against Kildare in the Leinster quarter-final. With so much stock placed in League standings, it was expected that the Lilywhites, who had played in Division 1 that spring, would sweep the Division 4 outfit aside.
That proved to be far from the case, as Turlough O'Brien's side put in a thoroughly efficient display to send Kildare hurtling towards the qualifiers.
4. That Corofin goal
The All-Ireland club champions were fully deserving winners of the Andy Merrigan Cup as they routed Nemo Rangers with free-flowing football.
Nothing encapsulated that more than Michael Farragher's first-half strike, where a run of majestic hand-passes tore through the Corkonians' defence, which paved the way for a comprehensive 2-19 to 0-10 win.
3. Mullinalaghta defy the odds
A late contender for moment of the year, Mullinalaghta's giant-killing of Kilmacud Crokes in the Leinster club final had to make the list. The Longford 'half-parish' overcame the odds to stun the favourites with a late comeback to seal the most unlikely of provincial titles.
Drawing from a catchment area of just 400 people, St Columba's are certainly the underdog story of 2018.
2. David Clifford comes of age
With Kerry trailing by three points and facing championship elimination against Monaghan in Clones, it was last chance saloon with Kieran Donaghy placed at the edge of the square. A high ball was sent into the Monaghan goalmouth, broken down by Donaghy and it fell into the hands of young star David Clifford.
The obvious temptation would have been blasting it as hard as he could, but with a mountain of Monaghan bodies between him and the goal, the Fossa star instead elected to take a step inside and gently pick his spot in the opposite corner.
An inspired score and Kerry lived to fight another day. The Donaghy-Clifford combination also heralded a changing of the guard for Kerry football.
1. Newbridge or Nowhere
With the controversies surrounding the venue for the tie, there was a sense of apprehension throughout the week in the lead-up to the showdown. It all spilled over onto a sweltering July Saturday evening in Newbridge, with a hum around the town from early in the day.
A packed stadium, buzzing atmosphere, and a massive shock to boot. The week-long build-up put huge pressure on the match itself to deliver, and it did just that.