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Families and their loved ones remembered in Sky Blues' hour of victory


Manager Dessie Farrell celebrates the 2020 All-Ireland final win over Mayo with Seán Bugler. Photo: Stephen McCarthy

Manager Dessie Farrell celebrates the 2020 All-Ireland final win over Mayo with Seán Bugler. Photo: Stephen McCarthy

Manager Dessie Farrell celebrates the 2020 All-Ireland final win over Mayo with Seán Bugler. Photo: Stephen McCarthy

'It's been a long, long year" sighed a relieved Dublin manager Dessie Farrell as the city team's dominance of all they surveyed stretched into a sixth year at Croke Park.

"So delighted for the players and their families," he said after their five-point victory over Mayo. "It's unfortunate they (the families) couldn't be here. We spoke about this earlier in the week. It's thanks to the love, guidance and support of their families that's allowed them to be in this position tonight.

"So we remember players' families, but also the families of those who have suffered this year and lost loved ones. We remember them on a night like tonight and, hopefully, there's better days ahead for everybody."

Farrell said that nothing about their opponents' ferocity surprised Dublin. "We had a good handle on what they were going to do, but just because you've a good handle on it doesn't necessarily mean you are going to come up with the solutions," he reflected. "Their high press, that high level of intensity that they bring, was always going to be difficult. We said we needed to be patient, that cracks would appear or the openings would be created if we hung in there and tried to protect the ball as best we can."

Jonny Cooper suggested that Dublin's big-day experience had been vital in outlasting what he called "a savage team". "We've been in these situations before and just know to stay composed and stay calm and keep the structure and order to our game, and what we're trying to execute" said the Na Fianna man. "Obviously, it's not going to be perfect, and it wasn't - especially playing against a quality opposition."

Asked about the differences Farrell had brought in his first year as manager, Cooper replied: "Nothing strikes me, to be honest. I guess there's a transition of power there that happens from management and coaching, but also from a player point of view as well.

"There's a number of newer players, so there's a transition of power that, I guess, responsibility falls on leaders within the group from a player point of view, but also from his side.

"So we just try to co-create, I guess, together from the two sides. Particularly early on in the season, then obviously there was a big break, so we tried to stay cohesive as best we could, and in the last number of weeks we've learned a lot about ourselves with this new kind of group.

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"I guess the last couple of years, the complacency thing, we were under a couple of managers that you need to drive those standards and those behaviours 24-7. So that's obviously important. It's easy to say it, but I guess doing it is a different thing. What do I put it down to?

"I don't know, there's probably a hunger and a bite there, particularly from the younger crew of guys who are pushing the senior leaders. Who knows what will happen for a few of us in the future, it's a competitive squad there and, obviously, a new coach and management team that's keeping us all on our toes as well."

Defeated Mayo manager James Horan cut a subdued figure, surrounded by the media hordes on the steps of the Hogan Stand.

"Disappointed, obviously," he sighed. "We did a lot of things right. We were still in it with 12 or 13 minutes to go. But we maybe ran out of juice a little bit and were a bit loose with some of the possession at times. And that cost us.

"Dublin got stronger and stronger as the game went on. Some of their subs made a big difference.

"I just think maybe we didn't get the impact that we'd have liked from some of the guys coming on, or whatever it was. But some of thus subs that came on - Brian Howard, Paul Mannion - they won a lot of primary possession on us. They were dangerous, and that had a big impact in the end.

"Dublin are a goal threat from multiple fronts at any time. The first goal was obviously very early, but I thought our response and our composure in the first half was very good. I thought on our own kick-outs and on the opposition kick-outs, we did very well. Got some good scores.

"But we missed a few that fell short into the goalie's hands that were killers. But, overall, our response to those goals was very good. Lots of good stuff there, but I just felt we had a lot of possession and some of it we lost very cheaply. And that cost us.

"But going into the last quarter, I don't know, was there a point in it at that stage? We were looking in a strong position, but Dublin were very good in the last quarter and controlled it very well."

And Horan sounded a positive note for the future of this Mayo team, suggesting, "but we'll take a huge amount from this season. The performances of Ryan O'Donoghue and Oisín Mullin today, the likes of Eoghan McLaughlin, Tommy Conroy, there's an awful lot of guys who have done a huge amount in a short space of time."

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