'We wouldn't be where we are today without Dessie' - Murchan
The elation in Eoin Murchan's eyes was clear for all to see in the minutes after Dublin claimed the last EirGrid All-Ireland U-21 FC crown with a six-point defeat of Galway, and so was the exhaustion.
Murchan gave a masterful defensive display, nullifying the threat of Galway sharpshooter Michael Daly despite giving away a substantial size and strength advantage.
The pint-sized defender, more accustomed to a corner-back berth, used all of his guile to outwit Daly from centre-back and deliver another textbook man-marking job as the Dubs made amends for heartbreaking one-score defeats in the last two All-Ireland semi-finals.
"It was tough, you can see from me I'm dying here," Murchan said in the immediate aftermath. "It was a very tough match, as tough as I've had this year. He (Daly) is a savage player and I knew he had a right and left foot.
"He's with the Galway seniors too so he is a great player… maybe things didn't go his way today. It was a mismatch in terms of height and that but I knew I had other aspects where I could get at him.
"I got a lot of help from my guys, we tried to keep the ball away from him as much as possible and we were pressuring the ball further out the field."
The ploy of detailing Murchan to pick up Daly was another tactical masterstroke from manager Dessie Farrell, who will step away from any involvement with the incoming U-20 squad next year, and the Na Fianna defender was quick to praise the efforts of his clubmate.
"You see it with the seniors where you have Niall Scully, Davy Byrne, Ciarán Kilkenny, Jack McCaffrey… all these lads came up through Dessie, and he is the man who made those players, him and his management team," he said.
"They put a savage about of work into it and we wouldn't have won the All-Ireland without him and wouldn't have got to where we got to without him and his management team, they are unbelievable."
After losing in the last four at both minor and U-21 level, this was a sweet victory for Murchan and the Dubs as they etched their name in the history books as the last team to lift the Clarke Cup.
"I was joint-captain last year, we fell to Tipperary two years ago and Mayo last year and we have put in a savage amount of work every year… even at minor we lost the semi-final to Donegal… so this feels good," said Murchan.
And with talents like Murchan, Evan Comerford, Brian Howard and Con O'Callaghan, the Blue Wave gathers further momentum.