Dublin are All-Ireland champions for the fifth year in succession after a 1-18 to 0-15 win over Kerry in Croke Park.
Dublin got off to a flyer with five points from play in the opening 10 minutes. However, Kerry came back at them thanks to David Clifford and Paul Geaney and drew level with Dublin shortly before the break.
Dublin turned the screw though in the second half to come away with a six-point win and thus become the first team in GAA history to complete the ‘drive for five’.
The win meant Stephen Cluxton lifted the Sam Maguire Cup for an unprecedented sixth time. The Parnells man was excellent again and made a great save from Stephen O’Brien that really put the writing on the wall for Kerry.
Following the game, Jim Gavin heaped praise onto his captain and leader who is in his 18th season of inter-county football.
“That’s the result of hundreds of hours (of work),” said Gavin immediately following the win.
“I’ve seen that, if you look back on his stance, that’s not the first time I’ve seen that. Josh Moran, his goalkeeping coach, and the goalkeeping coaches that have worked with him deserve credit for that. That’s something that you see replicated. I saw it earlier on this week.
“I saw it the day after the replay, him spending two hours on the pitch with Evan Comerford and Michael Shields from Sylvester’s. The three of them working on trying to rectify his positioning for Killian Spillane’s goal in the first game.
“So that’s someone who’s dedicated to their craft, and the result of that is what you see in those clutch moments, to have that composure to make himself big and strong and just do his job. That’s what Stephen does – he does his job.”
When pressed on the fact that Cluxton was back on the training the field the day after the drawn game despite putting in a near man if the match performance, Gavin reiterated his point that that’s just who Stephen Cluxton is.
“He had a bloody laptop, trying to replay in slow motion what way his feet and positioning were.
“That somebody who’s a master of his craft. Through that example, he inspires people around him. Stephen is well able to talk, he’s very articulate and people listen. But how he demonstrates, his actions, that’s what I’m interested in. That’s what he does. He’s a do-er.”
While Cluxton may draw all the plaudits for what many feel may be his swansong. The momentum shifted in Dublin’s favour today thanks to the most unlikeliest of goalscorers.
Eoin Murchan collected a breaking ball from the throw-in before driving through the Kerry defence and rattling the net just 16 seconds after the restart.
It was a well-worked set play from Dublin as the full-forward line pulled entirely towards the Cusack Stand to create room for Murchan.
While he may be viewed as the unlikely scorer. Gavin claimed it’s something he has seen the diminutive defender do on many occasions.
“Yeah, listen it was a great set move from the throw-in.
“Really well executed by the team collective you’d have to say. A really nice execution at the end of the move by Eoin.
I’ve seen it before from him, don’t think anybody was surprised when it hit the net. You are surprised maybe to get that space from the opening play.
“Eoin did really well, he really committed himself, it is what you see from them when you are with them that often. They all have jobs to do, when we meet it is very brief. So your time is precious with them, but they are a great team, great men to work with.“
Dublin now go down in history as the first team ever to complete the five-in-a-row.
When asked afterwards what it felt like to create history Gavin admitted he hadn’t quite reflected on that yet and today’s game was all about the performance rather than what was on the line.
“I haven’t really thought about it like that.
“It is a fact, I’m not denying that it is a fact. It is great for the county, but our primary aim was to get a performance.
“I’m not trying to dismiss it in any shape or form, it is phenomenal for Dublin GAA for this to happen, but when you are going into a game like this you have to focus on trying to get your game plan, game and process right.
“That is what delivers a performance like you saw today. The result is the outcome of that. Obviously it is a fantastic honour for Dublin, absolutely.“