herald

Saturday 14 December 2019

'We won't see the likes of it again'

Players Jonny Cooper and James McCarthy embrace after the win
Players Jonny Cooper and James McCarthy embrace after the win
Manager Jim Gavin with fan Eabha Ni Mhaolduin
Stephen Cluxton, Dean Rock, Ciaran Kilkenny and Jonny Cooper arriving at the Gibson Hotel
Bernard Brogan holds his twin sons Keadan and Donagh

The Boys and Girls in Blue made history at the weekend after both the men's and women's teams secured two unbeaten runs in the GAA All-Ireland football championships.

On Saturday, as the sun set on Croke Park, men's team captain Stephen Cluxton lifted Sam Maguire for a historic fifth time in a row.

It may have taken two attempts, but the Boys in Blue claimed Sam again after a thrilling 1-18 to 0-15 win over Kerry.

Then yesterday, in what felt like an embarrassment of riches, Dublin's place in history was copper-fastened when the women lifted the Brendan Martin cup for the third year in succession.

Stormy

The women battled Galway - and some stormy weather conditions - to come out 2-3 to 0-4 winners.

After the men's match, fans in green and gold were left bitterly disappointed, regretting their team's failure to stop Dublin the first time out.

For Jim Gavin's men, the replay went exactly to plan, and in the end there was little doubt the team would secure its place in the history books.

A deafening roar went up around the stadium as captain Cluxton lifted the trophy.

Manager Gavin hailed him as "a master of his craft", and the goalkeeper pulled off a 54th minute save from Stephen O'Brien which had hearts in mouths.

As they trailed out of Croke Park, fans were ecstatic.

"I'm delighted. I'm over the moon," yelled Dublin superfan Tom Mooney, from North Wall, to cheers from the crowd on Jones Road.

"We got the five in a row and now we're buzzin' for the half-dozen."

Niall Duggan, who was at the game with his son Shane (15), said: "Five in a row. It's absolutely incredible. We'll never see the likes of this again.

"This is a night of history. I'm not even thinking about the six-in-a-row."

Niall, who is originally from Raheny, added: "We live in Limerick now, but our hearts will always be Dublin."

Ruth O'Connor had travelled halfway across the world to see the game

"I flew in this morning, all the way from Sydney, and got off the plane at nine o'clock just to see Dublin win five-in-a-row. Woo hoo!" she told the Herald.

"It was well worth it. I came home for the Mayo replay, so I wasn't going to miss this one."

Celebrations were not limited to the fans.

The Dublin team swapped their gumshields for their glad rags and headed to a celebratory dinner in the Gibson Hotel after the game.

Feast

There they were joined by their partners and families for a well-earned feast and savouring the moment.

For some of the players it was just the start of the night, and they took to city centre bars, including the Boar's Head on the quays, where the parties went on into the small hours.

There was also the traditional morning-after trip to the children's hospital in Crumlin to show off the trophy and to meet young fans.

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