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Beating Tribes to Sam in '83 can't be bettered

TOMMY DRUMM was an outstanding leader and centre-back for the Dubs. Maybe he is best remembered for captaining the '12 Apostles' to All-Ireland SFC glory in 1983, but his entire Dublin career was one filled with great achievement.

He was a member of two other Sam Maguire-winning sides (1976 and 1977) and holds six Leinster SFC medals (1976-79, 1983 and 1984). A terrific half-back, Tommy was honoured with four All Stars (1977, 1978, 1979, 1983) and added a National League medal to his collection in 1978.

GREATEST ACHIEVMENT FOR DUBLIN?

Winning the '83 All-Ireland final (against Galway) against all the odds. The '77 semi-final against Kerry was an amazing game.

WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER FROM THAT FAMOUS DAY OF THE '12 APOSTLES'?

It was a bad day weather-wise and it probably wasn't the best match in the world but at the end of the day All-Ireland finals are there to be won and we delivered. We were under pressure right through the second half, and even though they had the two extra men, we hung on. Pat Canavan was man of the match and he covered unreal ground. Anton O'Toole had been around a while at that stage and I remember him working so hard as well.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT?

When you lose an All-Ireland final it's a horrible place to be and I lost three, '78, '79 and '84, but if I was to pick one it would be '84. It was the centenary final and I was captain, representing Whitehall Colmcille and St Aidan's school and Paul Clarke was captain of the minors on the same day, and he was also representing Whitehall and St Aidan's. But Paul delivered and he was able to go to the school the next day with the All-Ireland trophy, but I only had the Leinster! It would have been amazing for the school and the club to have both All-Ireland-winning captains from the same day.

Brother Coffey and Brother Walsh were in Aidan's, and that was the breeding ground for Whitehall and we had great success with them in the school. I still find it hard to take to this day.

BIGGEST INFLUENCE?

Kevin Heffernan. When you even played a trial game and he was there you had to impress him. He was never afraid to say the hard things or drop you if you weren't doing the business. In 1976 I played in the Leinster semi and he said afterwards, "Listen, nothing personal, but we aren't going to put you out against Meath in the final." You took it absolutely personal! You wanted to prove yourself to him. He was a similar mould to Alex Ferguson.

PLAYERS YOU MOST ADMIRED?

Two players, one is Matt Connor from Offaly. I played with him and against him – with him with All-Star teams and obviously against him for Dublin. Colm McAlarney from Down was the other one. He was a brilliant, brilliant footballer.

WHO WAS YOUR TOUGHEST DIRECT OPPONENT?

Matt Connor. It was so hard to stay close to him – he was like a shadow. He was so fast and could score from any angle with both feet and he had a brilliant side-step.

WHAT ARE YOUR OUTSTANDING CLUB MEMORIES?

Two of my uncles were involved from the very beginning of the club – Tom McSweeney and Bill Lynam. My brother, John, was eight years older than me and he had a big influence on me in the club.

They would have come from junior, to intermediate to senior and that was probably the most successful time the club had. Pádraic Duignan was a real leader all through my life and Joe Lawless was an incredible character. Joe would have come around to the house on Sunday mornings making sure I got out of bed and made sure I was involved from an early stage.

WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE CURRENT STATE OF FOOTBALL?

I suppose you have two extremes, Dublin and Donegal. You have to admire Donegal, they came up with a plan, stuck to it and delivered. At the end of the day, you compete to win and teams are there to try and win competitions. On the other hand, Jim Gavin has a lot of trust in his players and allows them to express themselves and let skills flow – it's great to watch. I think it's exciting times for football.

CAN DUBLIN CAPTURE SAM MAGUIRE?

It's within them. If one or two players underperform then the other lads have to step up and make up for that deficiency. In the past, maybe Dublin weren't able to do that. But they have amazing subs and they appear to have an extra dimension. I would be very excited about their prospects.


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