Five key players which helped Dublin secure their historic Five-In-A Row
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Dublin created history this year.
The Dublin senior men's football team created history this year by securing the once elusive five All-Ireland wins in a row. There is no doubting that this is a special group of players and staff so we teamed up with official sponsors AIG Insurance to look back at their championship and highlight five key players from their history making season.
It's sometimes hard to believe the Clontarf man is only 26 years of age. He seems to have been around a lot longer. McCaffrey has been a superstar of this Dublin team for a few years now, but this year he seemed to reach new superhuman levels.
His consistency is incredible, but it was his performance in the drawn All-Ireland Final against Kerry which was a performance for the ages. The team down to 14 men just before half-time after Jonny Cooper had been sent off, they needed people to step up and boy did Jack McCaffrey step up.
Scoring 1-3 from play and securing his second successive All-Ireland Final Man of the Match Award. He was breathtakingly good that day and helped Dublin secure a draw against the odds.
It's hard to put into words the impact the unassuming Stephen Cluxton has had on not only Dublin GAA, but GAA as a whole. He has redefined the role of a goalkeeper in the modern game. His laser like precision with is kick outs are such an important part of the Dublin gameplan.
He's had many, many great years for Dublin over the years, but this one was special. His kick-outs were as good as they ever have been, creating a brilliant platform for the Dublin team.
In the drawn final, Kerry pushed up on his kick-outs so he simply kicked over them and into the arms of Brian Howard. Two seconds later, McCaffrey was dispatching the ball into the Kerry net. Not only that, but in the same match, he saved a penalty from Paul Geaney.
Con O'Callaghan is a phenomenon. He's won everything there is to win at club and county level at all ages! The only thing missing is a senior hurling title with the county team, but seeing as he is only playing hurling when playing for his club Cuala, that's not likely to change.
This year Con O'Callaghan got even better. He was bigger, stronger, faster. He has become almost unplayable. A tenacious full forward with pace, strength and with an uncanny habit of scoring goals, just ask Lee Keegan who will probably have nightmares about that semi-final for years to come.
In the Super 8 match v Roscommon, he fielded a ball he had no right to claim, but came down crashing awkwardly. To many it looked like a cruciate ligament injury was inevitable, but as a mark of his developing athleticism, he bounced back up and calmly slotted the ball over the bar. It was an incredible score.
The diminutive, jet-heeled Na Fianna man has become a key player for this Dublin team over the past couple of years. He burst on to the scene last season and it was his performances in the Super 8s nullifying both Ryan McHugh of Donegal and Niall Sludden of Tyrone which marked him as a really important player for the Dubs.
Not only is he a phenomenal man-marker, he displayed an unerring prowess for goal-scoring too. With the replay finely poised at half-time, Murchan latched on to a loose ball from the re-start and set off like a rocket towards the Kerry goal.
Nobody came to meet him as surely Murchan didn't possess that killer instinct, but as he got closer, the realisation was that he only had the keeper to beat. Okay, he may have taken a couple of more than the permitted steps, but his finish with the outside of the boot leaving the Kerry keeper completely flat-footed will live long in the memory.
No celebration though, he simply sprinted back into position at breakneck speed. Murchan is a hugely selfless player and one who completely gets the team ethic in this wonderful group of players.
The 26 year old from Raheny has played 36 championship matches for Dublin in the last five years and is yet to taste defeat. That's a pretty staggering statistic for the genial midfielder who purrs around the pitch like a finely tuned Rolls Royce.
His quality is there for all to see, he can pretty much do everything. It's a measure of his incredible consistency now that we almost expect him to have an 8/10 or 9/10 performance in every match. Some say he, and some other Dublin players, were a little bit off the boil in the drawn final against Kerry.
Again, maybe he wasn't at his usual 9/10 level, but come the replay, he stepped up as he does, and was imperious as he helped deliver this historical win.
He's another who seems to have been around forever, but only 26. It's quite frightening for the other counties to know the vast majority of this Dublin squad have a good few years left in the legs and nobody betters embodies the talent, humility and sheer will to win of this squad than Brian Fenton.
WATCH: Five steps to history
On Saturday, 14 September 2019, the Dublin GAA men’s senior footballers achieved a feat no team has ever done before in the GAA’s 135-year history, winning five consecutive All-Ireland Senior Football Championships in a row – their 29th title overall, and seventh in the last nine years.
Denis Bastick walks us through the agony & the ecstasy of the #DriveForFive.
AIG Ireland offers excellent rates on their car and home insurance to Dublin GAA clubs and LGFA members across the country with a wide range of benefits. To get a quote visit www.aig.ie or call 1890 50 27 27.
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