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Darcy hails Murchan on his 'blindside' run to become a Dub starter

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EVOLUTION: Declan Darcy. Pic: Sportsfile

EVOLUTION: Declan Darcy. Pic: Sportsfile

EVOLUTION: Declan Darcy. Pic: Sportsfile

The Dubs keep on winning and the Dubs keep on evolving before our eyes.

Every year, Jim Gavin has turned at least one rookie into a first-team mainstay. In this history-making season he did it twice, with Brian Howard and Eoin Murchan.

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BLINDSIDE: Eoin Murchan. Pic: Sportsfile

BLINDSIDE: Eoin Murchan. Pic: Sportsfile

BLINDSIDE: Eoin Murchan. Pic: Sportsfile

Declan Darcy insists this isn't a deliberate ploy, more an organic evolution, but he agrees that change has helped sustain them through this four-in-a-row epoch.

"Yeah, I think so," he said. "Sometimes you are naturally drawn to the player that has performed for Dublin over years and years. Again, we just see what we see; we pick what we feel is the player that can give the best.

"The guys that played on Sunday were definitely the guys who deserved the jerseys. There might have been some 50-50 calls for sure, but they were the guys deserving."

The Dublin selector is speaking on the Monday morning after the celebratory night before.

Stereotype

The players are relaxed and open in their reflections on the significance of what they've achieved - at odds with the guarded, robotic stereotype. Darcy is equally happy to throw light on Dublin's changing of the guard.

"Brian Howard, in fairness, has been excelling the last year or two anyway so we kind of had a good feeling," he explained.

"Eoin (Murchan) came on the blindside a little bit but Eoin is just phenomenal in his attention to detail; his preparation is fanta stic, his energy, his sheer want to play for Dublin is amazing.

"He's a small guy. Again, he defied all the odds and you couldn't but admire his determination and focus to get to where he wanted to get to.

"Eoin was a perfect fit for some of the jobs that we needed to do. We actually thought about it coming into the season that we might need him in a certain context with Ryan McHugh, (Niall) Sludden … he was a perfect foil for these types of players.

"He's very diligent, he's a very focused guy, very level-headed. For his first final, I think he did exceptionally well. Watching him in the dressing-room beforehand, he was taking it all in his stride. There was no drama to the situation."

Darcy also name-checked Niall Scully, starting his first final, as part of this new Blue wave.

"The focus for them is to perform in the jersey," he said. "They don't get distracted by 'This is my first final.'"

The flip side of Dublin's reinvigoration is the handful of decorated veterans who didn't even see game time.

For a variety of reasons, five forwards who have featured on the biggest of days - Bernard Brogan, Paddy Andrews, Paul Flynn, Eoghan O'Gara and Diarmuid Connolly - had no active role on Sunday.

Connolly's American odyssey has been well documented; likewise the battle of wounded knee fought by Brogan, who didn't make the match-day 26 on Sunday, wearing No 27 instead.

When asked if you can divorce sentiment in making such calls, Darcy replied: "We don't do sentiment. That does not wash with us. But we do acknowledge that he is a phenomenal player ... and we did acknowledge the massive effort he made to come back. He broke all the records to get to where he was."

He added: "We tried to get Paul (Flynn) in at the end, we would like to get all the players on ... but yesterday we had a couple of more defenders going down than normal."

Darcy hailed the influence still exerted by these unused veterans.

"Their leadership, their knowledge, their experience, particularly for the younger players is massive. Denis Bastick last year was phenomenal within the group and these players are no different," he concluded.


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