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Monday 16 December 2019

Kevin Mac goal most important ever

Dublin’s Kevin McManamon is overcome with emotion in 2011
Dublin’s Kevin McManamon is overcome with emotion in 2011

Senan Connell has identified Dublin's dramatic comeback against Kerry in 2011, ignited by Kevin McManamon's goal, as pivotal to everything that has followed in this Decade of the Dubs.

"That was the single biggest most important game for Dublin. And the goal that McManamon got was the most important goal that was ever scored for Dublin football," declared the former Sky Blue forward and now Sky Sports pundit.

"Just a weight came off the shoulders, 'We can do this', the belief was there.

"Plus the guys that came in - your Michael Darragh Macauleys, your James McCarthys, Rory O'Carrolls - they had no baggage.

"We carried baggage and that baggage was probably from Meath and Kildare of the nineties, the noughties, from those games.

"We knew we couldn't look at Tyrone and Kerry yet because Leinster was so big in our eyes. Whereas the guys now have no baggage.

"I remember seeing Macauley on television down in Killarney (2010). He was running through and they won down there and I was saying, 'Who is this fella?' They didn't care.

Rocked

"Whereas if we rocked down to Kerry it was, 'Right, I'm marking Tomás (Ó Sé), you know what you have to do, we'll probably get ahead but they're probably going to win.' All of a sudden, that was gone."

The key to Dublin's ongoing success, Connell went on, lies in Jim Gavin's constant regeneration of his starting 15.

"Is the average age of the team 24? It's not Macauley or McManamon or Bernard Brogan now; it's Con O'Callaghan, (Niall) Scully, who just does his job ... and it's probably the brilliance of Gavin as well that he's managed that change and he's brave in his changes.

"Even (Eoin) Murchan, we know how brilliant he is at Na Fianna but to spring him from nowhere (last year), or bringing Davy Byrne back in, being brave.

"If it was me as a manager, I'd probably have stuck to the lads that won in the early (years) but now you'd be looking to evolve again."

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