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Beating Red Hands in '95 was my high

THE Legend of the Ball this week is All-Ireland SFC winning defender, Mick Deegan. The Erin's Isle man was an integral part of the Dublin team during the nineties, culminating in winning Sam Maguire in 1995.

He was also involved on the Isle's teams that contested five Dublin senior football finals in a row between 1993 and 1997, winning two (1993, 1997).

'Deego' will be part of new Dublin manager Jim Gavin's backroom team in 2013.

GREATEST MOMENT IN A DUBLIN JERSEY?

It would have to be in 1995 and winning the All-Ireland senior title (defeating Tyrone) after three disappointing defeats in two finals (against Donegal in '92 and Down in '94) and a semi-final (against Derry in '93).

WORST MOMENT IN A DUBLIN JERSEY?

Losing to Down in 1994 was a really disappointing day.

BEST CLUB MEMORY?

We had a great Isle's team in the nineties. But to captain Erin's Isle to their first county title in 1993 was a fantastic occasion for myself.

CAREER REGRETS?

I suppose with the club we lost three county finals on the trot. They were hard to take.

BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON CAREER?

My parents were a huge

influence and a fella called Pat Timmons in Erin's Isle as well.

TOUGHEST OPPONENT?

There were many of them! But I'd say Mickey Linden (Down) and Bernard Flynn (Meath) were the top corner-forwards when I was playing so it was a toss up between the two of them, to be honest.

BEST PLAYER YOU PLAYED WITH?

For his ability and the punishment he took I would say Kieran Duff was one of the best I've played with. A huge footballing talent.

IF THERE WAS A TRANSFER MARKET IN YOUR ERA, WHO WOULD YOU HAVE SIGNED?

A player who I had great respect for was Greg Blaney from Down. An excellent footballer.

ANY CHILDHOOD HERO?

For me growing up the Dubs and Man United were my two teams. In Gaelic football Kevin Moran for his attacking flair. And George Best . . . a legend.

IS THE GAME BETTER NOW OR WHEN YOU PLAYED?

I don't think it's better now. I enjoyed the style we were brought up with.

Football has changed, it's more technical now. But I think football in the nineties was better.

HAVE YOU ANY PET HATES ABOUT THE MODERN GAME?

I'm hoping that fellas looking to get other players sent off and booked won't creep in any more than it already has.

IF YOU COULD MAKE ONE RULE CHANGE WHAT WOULD IT BE?

I think the tackle needs to be clarified better.

Referees aren't 100pc sure about it so it needs to be looked at.

HARDEST THING ABOUT RETIRING FROM THE GAME?

I knew the legs had lost that little yard and even though I went on to manage and it was fantastic, nothing beats playing.

You are giving up what you've done for 15 or 20 years. Missing the lads and playing and training with them is hard.

It's part of your life and anyone who says they don't miss it is telling a lie.

HOW DO YOU THINK THE YEAR WILL GO FOR DUBLIN FOOTBALLERS IN 2013?

I'm part of the new management team and we'll just be looking to win every game.

The lads have done huge work over the last three or four years.

They have been beaten in two All-Ireland semi-finals (Cork in 2010 and Mayo in 2012) and won a final so we'll be looking to bounce back and hopefully bring Sam home again.

ADVICE TO YOUNG PLAYERS?

Practice makes perfect. The main thing is to work on your weaknesses and try to improve every day you go training.


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