Dublin claimed back Sam Maguire after defeating Kerry by two points yesterday in the All-Ireland Senior Football Final in Croke Park
Dublin hadn’t won Sam since 2020, they were relegated from the division one league in 2022, and manager Dessie Farrell was under pressure but all the woes of the past were put to bed yesterday as the Dubs claimed their thirty-first title after a workmanlike performance on the biggest day in the football calendar.
The game was frantic at times and there were many errors on both sides, Kerry had their chances but was wasteful especially in the second half but it was Dublin who outscored the Kingdom in that last third to claim the title. The return of Stephen Cluxton, Paul Mannion and Jack McCaffery was pivotal to their success.
There was a trio of Dubs that was happier than most as up to yesterday the most All-Ireland football medals won stood at eight with the likes of Pat Spillane, Páidí Ó Shea (RIP), and Ogie Moran on top of the honors list but that was all to change after the final whistle as Cluxton, McCarthy and Fitzsimons had just won their ninth All-Ireland medal, yes you read that correctly nine All-Ireland medals.
Stephen Cluxton came back into the team this year having taken a couple of years out, the forty-one-year-old was captain in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and yesterday only conceded his first goal since the 2019 replay. “He’s a happy man, you know,” confirms Farrell. To be away and come back again. They say there’s no such thing as fairytale endings in sport, but it was a little bit like a dream come true alright.”
Michael Fitzsimons is now 34 years old, he made his championship debut in 2010 against Wexford. He plays full back and many said he had the most difficult job in the lead-up to the final as he was to mark David Clifford who many say is the best footballer of all time. Fitzsimons relishes a challenge and the Cuala player was no different yesterday as he and Clifford had many battles on the pitch. Fitzsimons was named Man of the Match after the 2016 All-Ireland Final.
James McCarthy is the captain of the Dublin senior football team, the 33-year-old from Ballymun Kickhams is a tough player who has made the wing back position his own in the last couple of seasons. He likes to attack from defense and has been one of the playmakers for the Dublin forwards. Its his first year as captain and he has led his team right from the start of the season. He made his debut in the Leinster championship against the Lillywhites back in 2011.
All three will ponder over their futures over the next few months but for now they will relish in the glory of knowing that they have made history and have immortalised their names in GAA history