Gavin’s heroic Dubs rewrite history books

by Cóilín Duffy
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All Ireland SGC final
Dublin 1-18
Kerry 0-15

EOIN Murchan’s goal provided the springboard as Dublin’s Mens Footballers delivered a historic fifth All-Ireland Senior Championship title in-a-row, at the second attempt, in Saturday’s final replay at a packed Croke Park.

The Na Fianna clubman produced a cracking individual goal that will live long in the memory, as Dublin went from being dead-locked at 0-10 apiece at the break, to claiming a three-point advantage just nine seconds after the restart – placing them into a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

Dublin manager Jim Gavin said it was a “fantastic honour” to achieve a fifth title in succession.

“It’s phenomenal for Dublin GAA for this to happen,” he said.

“When you are going into a game like this, you have to focus on trying to get your game-plan and your game right and your performance right and your process right. That’s what delivers a performance like you saw today, and the result is the outcome of that.

“Obviously it’s a fantastic honour for Dublin, absolutely.”

Gavin felt the lead up to Murchan’s goal was a brilliantly executed team move.

“It was a great set move from the throw-up – a really well executed move from the team collectively you would have to say. And a really nice execution at the end of the move by Eoin!

“I’ve seen it before from him. I don’t think I would be surprised when it hit the net but, yeah, you are surprised maybe to get that space in the opening play.

“Eoin did really well and he really committed himself today. Again, it’s what you see from them when you are with them that often – they all have jobs to do.”

Dublin began this game impressively, leading by 0-5 to 0-1 after just eight minutes – with five scoring opportunities yielding five scores.

Cuala’s Con O’Callaghan, Man of the Match Ciaran Kilkenny and Kilmacud Crokes clubman Paul Mannion were all on target.

Kerry pressed hard for scores, and while Dublin coped pretty well at the back, Paul Geaney and David Clifford cut in to reduce the deficit.

Dublin continued to hold a four-point advantage midway through the half, but Kerry cut the gap to the minimum with Adrian Spillane and Clifford (2) on target.

Dean Rock extended Dublin’s advantage to two points, but with scores from Sean O’Shea and Geaney, Kerry levelled matters at 0-10 apiece at the break.

Both sides offered impressive accuracy in the opening half, but Dublin were more dominant in this department on the restart.

Murchan’s pacey run and finish opened up a three-point lead, and although an O’Shea point cut the gap to the minimum 10 minutes into the second half, Dublin drove on.

Half-time substitute Diarmuid Connolly laid the ball off to Kilkenny for an excellent score a minute later, and with Paul Mannion effective adding two points from play, Dublin began to pull away.

Kerry weren’t without their chances though with Stephen Cluxton pulling off a fine save, after a Stephen O’Brien goal effort.

Dublin looked solid in the closing quarter with Niall Scully, James McCarthy and Rock (2) adding scores on the way to a six-point win.

There were jubilant scenes at the full-time whistle, and pure delight as Stephen Cluxton once again lifted the Sam Maguire Cup.

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