THROUGHOUT the summer there has been a general feeling was that Dublin had a good seventy minutes in them.
The problem was that it was spread over the course of five championship games. Their heroic efforts to overturn a ten point deficit at Croke Park on Sunday means that there won't be quite the same sort of inquest following their 2009 collapse against Kerry. Indeed had it not been for a terrific save by David Clarke to deny Bernard Brogan with four minutes to go who knows what might have transpired. And defeated Dublin boss, Pat Gilroy, speaking in the aftermath of the All Ireland champions exit, believed that the 2010 player of the year had answered his critics despite a less than glorious summer.
'I think at that stage we had such momentum that if a goal had gone in we probably might have gone on to win it. 'I guess we have a lot to thank him for. He was winning balls and people were hanging out of him and I don't think we would have been in that position without him.
'Bernard gets a hard time, and he is probably expected to score 2-10 every game, but he does a lot of work off the ball. 'He had a very honest year, he is very committed and he is a guy you can rely on.' Gilroy drew criticism later on in the day for the introduction of Alan Brogan, who went into the game with a groin injury. Having been introduced at half time, the 2011 player of the year lasted just 18 minutes but Gilroy claimed it was a risk worth taking. 'He got a painkiller and felt he was good enough to go but he just couldn't run when he was on.
'It was a gamble and it backfired, but in fairness when you have a player like him it was one of those things that you want to try.' Gilroy was flanked at Sunday's press conference by captain, Bryan Cullen, and while the question of Dublin's hunger was brought up for what seemed the 100th time, the Skerries Harps man remained calm. 'I'd like to think the lads wanted to win this year just as much as last year. I think you saw that from the efforts out there, the lads threw the kitchen sink at it. 'At the end of the first half and beginning of second we were struggling to click into gear.
'Mayo are a good side and when they have possession they can hurt you.' It was point that Gilroy was also intent on making. 'Other teams get better, I couldn't fault any player for their application, they probably did everything even more so than last year. 'And I think physically they were probably a step above where they were last year.' Prior to the game the midfield tussle had been a cause for concern, but Gilroy believes that it was in the loose ball department where Mayo ultimately came out on top.
'The statistics show we won fourteen kick outs in the first half and they only won eight, but they were taking the ball off us as soon as we were winning it. 'In the second half we were a lot harder in terms of holding onto possession and we moved it quicker.' One of the key men behind Dublin's remarkable transformation was Michael Dara Macauley and Gilroy was full of praise for the Ballyboden St Endas star after the game.
'He made some great runs in first half. We didn't get much off them whereas we should have got maybe one or two more scores off them in the first half, maybe even a goal. Michael is one of those guys who is incredibly strong mentally 'As a group the way they finished the game was at least some sort of consolation. If we had finished the second half the way we did the first half there would have been a lot of soul searching.
'But we all had things to think about and understand why we got into the position we did.' Nonetheless Gilroy refused to be drawn on his own position for next year. 'I don't even know what I'm doing next week never mind next year. This is not the time to think of those things, it's very raw at the minute. 'I'm going to go away for a week or two and have a good think.'