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Sweet Sixteen

SIXTEEN years after the capital's last All-Ireland win, Dublin's heroes and their loved ones let their hair down in the team's Sam celebration headquarters.

Manager Pat Gilroy, team captain Byran Cullen, goal-scorer Kevin McManamon, hero keeper Stephen Cluxton, the Brogan brothers, 'Man of the Match' Kevin Nolan and the rest of the team basked in the glory of their first All-Ireland win in 16 years with a gala event in the Burlington Hotel.

Dublin brothers Alan and Bernard Brogan were all smiles as they partied with their team mates and close family.

"I'm absolutely delighted. It's great. It's been a long time coming so it's a really great feeling. We're really going to enjoy the next couple of days now and celebrate with the family," said Alan Brogan.

The brothers come from a long line of GAA stars, including their father Bernard Snr.

Alan says their victory over Kerry yesterday was a monumental moment for his whole family, not just Dublin fans.

"My father, my uncle Ben and my mother Marie were at the match. Everyone in the family is delighted. The whole family is devoted to football so it means as much to them today as it does to me," he revealed.

Meanwhile younger brother Bernard revealed his plans to party for the next seven days.

The forward told the Herald he plans on enjoying himself over the next few days.

"This is a really special time. But I really am emotionally drained. We're all just going to drink for the week now. I also just passed my accountancy exams, they were tough but it's all over now," he said.

And the Dublin champion added that he was delighted for his county as well as his team.

"I'm just thrilled. Fans keep saying the last five minutes were amazing but I can't even remember the last five minutes. The fans have been great, that's what it's all about. Do it for the Hill," he said.

Despite the fact that he is set to get a lot more female attention in the coming weeks, Bernard dashed the hopes of his female fans last night.

He is in a relationship with Leslie Walsh -- and the happy couple celebrated Dublin's win together in the Burlington Hotel.

"I do have a girlfriend at the moment. I think she's going to have to get used to this lifestyle now of glamourous events, well hopefully anyway," he said.

Earlier, half-forward Kevin Nolan accepted his 'Man of the Match' award during the Winners' Banquet, televised on RTE.

The modest player thanked his team-mates, stressing that it was a team effort that led to their All-Ireland victory.

Pat Gilroy paid tribute to his team, saying it was an "absolute pleasure" to work with the group, and praised them for their hard work.

In his speech, Gilroy added how people always discuss the sacrifices made for such a sport.

"But for me, it was never a sacrifice, it was an absolute pleasure," he said.

The manager, who won an All-Ireland as a Dublin player in 1995, paid tribute to his wife, mother and children for the sacrifices they have made to accommodate his position as Dublin manager.

Despite their gruelling schedule in the run-up to the All-Ireland final, there was little sign of injury last night.

Paul Flynn, who was substituted half way through the second half after playing through the pain barrier, was hobbling slightly with a calf injury

Former Dublin managers Tommy Lyons and Paul 'Pillar' Caffrey were present at the celebrations as were members of the Dublin County Board and former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

Most of the Dublin team were there with their wives and partners, who were all suitably glammed up for the event.

Although Dublin captain Byran Cullen appeared to promise a good night out in well known nightclub Copper Face Jacks during his speech in Croke Park, most of the Dublin team stayed in the Burlington opting to celebrate with their team-mates and loved ones in a private function.

Dublin supporters had the chance to buy special VIP after-party passes into the gala event, which started at midnight.