Thursday 23 November 2017

Dubs weren't 'cute enough' for Cork, says Fitzsimons

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

DUBLIN defender Michael Fitzsimons believes his side weren't "cynical enough or cute enough" to see off Cork in their agonising All-Ireland semi-final defeat.

The Dubs missed out on a first All-Ireland final appearance since 1995 when being pipped at the post by Conor Counihan's side at Croke Park.

However, Cuala defender Fitzsimons -- who had an impressive debut season in Pat Gilroy's rookie full-back line alongside Rory O'Carroll and Philly McMahon -- believes the young Dubs will learn from the experience.

"I hope it's a rite of passage. You'll learn from that. Maybe we weren't cynical enough or cute enough. Cork will say it's a rite of passage. They've been through it for so many years with Kerry."

Fitzsimons is an unlikely Dublin footballer. Cuala are traditionally regarded as a hurling club, while the 22-year-old admits he had a very modest career before being called up to the Dublin junior squad that would win an All-Ireland in 2008.


"I suppose I got a bit lucky with football. I wasn't exceptional at either hurling or football -- I was a sub on the minor 'B' team with the club during my first year at minor.

"I hadn't played with UCD before the (junior) All-Ireland and I hadn't played Freshers," said Fitzsimons, who will play for the Belfield outfit in the centenary of the Sigerson Cup, which they host in March.

"I missed the trials and I didn't want to play on the lower team and work my way up because I thought there was no chance for me.

"At the end of the second year I played with the intermediate team and (UCD GAA chief) Dave (Billings) saw me and asked me to play."

Fitzsimons made his league debut against Derry last year and hasn't looked back, though he expects 2011 to bring a whole new set of challenges.

"The first league game was worse (than the first championship game) because I had never played for my county before, so that was fairly nerve-wracking. We got a good run at Croke Park so by the end it wasn't as daunting, but it was different at the start.

"I got on alright against Derry. I was very nervous at the start. I was almost getting sick, but once I settled in and my man didn't win the first few balls, I got a little bit of confidence.

"But there's loads of competition there. Ross O'Carroll is coming back and Paul Conlon is there too.

"Anything could have happened this year. We could have lost against Armagh and it would have been a terrible season. You never know what will happen next year."

Irish Independent

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