Thursday 23 November 2017

'Unreal, it's the sign of true champions' - City's joy as Dubs complete the treble

Dublin fans Joe Walsh, Mark walsh and Mick Dunne from Tallaght at the Dublin v Mayo All Ireland final in Croke Park.
Photo: Tony Gavin
Dublin fans Joe Walsh, Mark walsh and Mick Dunne from Tallaght at the Dublin v Mayo All Ireland final in Croke Park. Photo: Tony Gavin
Dubs fans
Dubs fans
Dublin fan Tommy Mooney from Belvedere Place at the Dublin v Mayo All Ireland final in Croke Park. Photo: Tony Gavin
Dublin fans Noel Rock TD and Seamus Conboy at the Dublin v Mayo All Ireland final in Croke Park. Photo: Tony Gavin
Dublin fans Graham Whelan, Ballyfermot, Debbie Aiken, Tallaght and Laura Mills, Tallaght celebrate after the Dublin v Mayo All Ireland final in Croke Park. Photo: Tony Gavin
Dublin fans jane and Alison Manion from Lexlip at the Dublin v Mayo All Ireland final in Croke Park. Photo: Tony Gavin
Dublin fan Paul Connell from Rathcoole at the Dublin v Mayo All Ireland final in Croke Park. Photo: Tony Gavin
Dublin fans Joe Walsh, Mark Walsh and Mick Dunne from Tallaght at the Dublin v Mayo All Ireland final in Croke Park. Photo: Tony Gavin
Dublin fans jJohn O'Connor, Ronan O'Reilly, Nigel Leahey and Connor O'Reilly from Tallaght at the Dublin v Mayo All Ireland final in Croke Park. Photo: Tony Gavin
Comedian John Bishop was at the Dublin v Mayo All Ireland final in Croke Park. Photo: Tony Gavin
Dublin fan David Leavy from Swords was at the Dublin v Mayo All Ireland final in Croke Park. Photo: Tony Gavin
Dublin fan Patrick O'Reilly from Drumcondra was at the Dublin v Mayo All Ireland final in Croke Park. Photo: Tony Gavin
Dubs fans

Ryan Nugent

SAM Maguire is making itself at home in the capital for yet another year - as the Boys in Blue captured a dramatic three All-Ireland titles in a row after a sensational battle against Mayo.

The victory, thanks to a nail-biting last-minute free from Hill 16 hero Dean Rock, means the Dubs have clinched a treble of All-Ireland successes for the first time in almost 100 years.

Dubs fans
Dubs fans

The hoarse voices on the Hill pulled together for one final roar in the closing minutes - but that was only after a nerve-wracking second half.

Even the brother of Dublin boss Jim Gavin thought the Dubs were going to fall just short, after Lee Keegan netted past Stephen Cluxton with 15 minutes remaining.

Champions

"Unreal. It's the sign of true champions to get over the line like that, I'm absolutely delighted," Brian Gavin told the Herald.

"I thought it was gone there for a good bit.

"Your heart goes out to Mayo, they went at it, they really did.

Dubs fans
Dubs fans

"It's fantastic for Dublin football and long may it last."

Despite claiming his fourth All-Ireland title in five years in charge of Dublin, Gavin carried on with his tradition of not ever touching Sam Maguire following victory, insisting it's all about the players.

It is the right thing to do, Brian - who was set to join his brother at the Gibson Hotel banquet later in the evening - explained.

"As he always says, and I have to agree with him, it's not about him, it's about the players and they're there to provide a framework for them to perform at their best - and I have to say they're doing it, you know, which is great," he said.

"Only nine of the team from last year started today and the age profile has dropped, it's great.

"To us, it's seamless but I'm sure there's an awful lot of work going on in the background."

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was also beaming from ear to ear as he realised he had bucked a trend for recent leaders of the country, when talking to RTE's Marty Morrissey.

"There was a nasty rumour going around in the last week or two that there was a Taoiseach's curse and if your team was in the football final you couldn't win," he said.

"As you know, former taoisigh Enda Kenny and Bertie Ahern did not have the pleasure of seeing their county lift the Sam Maguire... but clearly that's untrue.

"I'm obviously Taoiseach for the whole country and not just for Dublin, and Mayo have had a phenomenal team just to see a county reach so many finals.

"You can only imagine what goes through their heads and hearts going through the experience again, coming so close.

"If Mayo were up against any team other than Dublin, I would have been cheering for them today, as I'm sure was most of the country," he added.

One of his predecessors - and avid Boys in Blue fan - Mr Ahern said it was certainly the best Dublin team he'd ever seen play.

"It's a terrific achievement for the team. I think it's the best Dublin team ever," he said.

"When Dublin won in the 1920s, during the Civil War, there was 11,700 here, there was war all over the country.

"Now you're winning three-in-a-row with huge competition, huge opposition, huge interest.

Delighted

"I'm delighted for that team, they don't owe us anything, they've done their bit."

Three-time All-Ireland winning Tyrone manager Mickey Harte told the Herald that, while a halt can be put to this Dublin run, it will be a serious team that gets in their way.

"Every team can be caught, their run comes to an end eventually, but at the same time it's going to take a lot of effort for somebody to do that," Harte said. "The second half was excellent, it was end-to-end stuff, it's fine margins that wins these games.

"All that adds up to the fact that this Dublin team must be very good, to be able to stand up to all the variables of the game and come out on top.

"A number of their players were not playing up to their form in the first half, the changes at half time certainly helped them," he added, picking out Paul Mannion and James McCarthy as major players.

Herald

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