The Dublin senior footballers on Merrion Square. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

DUBLIN senior men’s football manager Jim Gavin praised his sides character and attitude as 16,000 fans gathered in Merrion Square for Dublin’s double All-Ireland Senior Football winning celebrations on Sunday at the official homecoming organised by Dublin City Council.

It was the first time both the senior men’s and ladies footballers shared the stage for such an event.

The men’s side were celebrating their historic five-in-a-row All-Ireland success; with the ladies honoured after delivering All-Ireland silverware for the third year in-a-row for the first time.

Gavin says that embracing differences was key.

“We embraced diversity, we think it’s a strength of the squad,” he said.

“Dublin City is a metropolitan city and there’s so many facets to our county and these players represent that.

“We’ve always looked for the players to express themselves and be the best versions of themselves both on and off the field of play.

“The one thing we look for, though, is character and attitude. They all have been developed by the clubs, and they are all very skilful players.

“All of the kids that are listening and here today, these guys practice a little but often, so they are doing something every day.

“Their attitude for us is what makes them unique players. We would have seen that in both games – particularly in the last 15 minutes of the replayed game – where I think their true character came out.”

St Jude’s clubman Kevin McManamon said it’s a special feeling to win ‘five-in-a-row’.

“Absolutely it was a really special day and a really special season,” he said.
“To just get the job done, there was so much pressure on us. You were trying to avoid it, but you could feel the bit of tension from the fans and from the GAA in general everywhere.

“Just to finally get over the line, it was a massive release, and it’s been great in the last two weeks.”

Lucan Sarsfields clubman Darren Gavin said it was great to be involved with the squad, despite nursing an injury.

“I was injured so it was hard enough. But the lads are very good at keeping you involved and stuff like that, so it was a great year.”

Thomas Davis duo Olwen Carey and Siobhan McGrath were delighted to be celebrating Dublin Ladies All-Ireland triumph.

“It was great, obviously we had a few finals that didn’t go our way, so to have the three now it’s been brilliant,” Carey said.

“To win three-in-a-row, and obviously with the men winning as well, it has certainly been a great two weeks.”

For McGrath it was a second All-Ireland win in a row having returned from Australia to win 12 months ago, and now add another medal to her collection.

“It’s just been an amazing experience to come back in to a group like this,” she said.

“They are a phenomenal group of girls and management. I came in and I was very lucky. I came straight in to a winning team, so I’m a very lucky girl!”

Sunday’s homecoming event, was hosted by Marty Morrissey and featured live music from Key West, Eoin Thomas and The Rising Sons.

Former Dublin football stars Charlie Redmond, Mickey Whelan, Ciaran Duff and Tommy Drumm were also interviewed on stage, while a specially commissioned video of Dublin wins and highlights from both the ladies and men’s matches were shown on the big screens.