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Friday 18 January 2019

'Super sub' McManamon was Gilroy's ace in the pack

IT has finally arrived. Dublin are back at the top of the Gaelic football ladder. And what a match. This current group of Dublin players are simply phenomenal.

They looked dead and buried. Four points down with less than 10 minutes on the clock. But just as they have done all year, they dug deep and never gave up and it is just reward.

A lot was said in the lead up about the options off the bench that each manager had at their disposal. Paul Galvin was the obvious one who everyone felt could make the difference. However, it was Dublin's ace in the pack who turned the game on its head. Just as he did against Donegal in the semi-final, Kevin McManamon came in and was the match winner.

How often have we seen this particular team get only a sniff of a goal and it ending up in the net? It is a quality which has proved invaluable.

Massive credit must go to Pat Gilroy and his backroom team.

He came in three years ago, and there were a few eyebrows raised at his appointment. But he has delivered the Holy Grail.

His first year ended with an annihilation at the hands of Kerry. He went and he moulded a team full of work, hard running and most importantly, belief.

All those lads believe in the system that they play and are willing to implement that system until the bitter end because they feel, and justifiably so, that it is the one that will get them over the line.

There is not a selfish player among that Dublin squad. They always look for the player who is in the best position and more often than not they make the correct decision.

I have to say that I was a bit surprised at Kieran Donaghy, a player of immense talent, and who was excellent again yesterday.

It seemed that every controversial incident in the game he was making sure he was in the middle of it and he looked to be trying to wind up the Dublin lads. He was obviously very hyped up for the game, and maybe it helps him perform, but when he was playing so well I wondered why he was getting involved.

As a Dub, it is a great feeling. Sixteen years is a long time to wait to get your hands on something that you dream of week in week out.

It is hard to be anything but positive about yesterday. Perhaps one thing is that the team probably played within themselves. But the flip side of that is that they still got the result. It takes a special team to win two All-Ireland titles and an incredible team to win it back-to-back. But this team has it in their locker, of that I am sure. They are a special group. They all buy into the one belief and everyone has the same goal.

If they have the desire, I have no doubt that they can go on and achieve even more glory.

But the time has not come yet to look forward. Now it is for the players and Dublin fans to savour the coming weeks of celebration.

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