Macauley: All-Ireland win hasn't sunk in at all

Influential midfielder Michael Darragh Macauley says it will "definitely take a few days" for Dublin's latest All-Ireland SFC triumph to sink in.

Macauley was a driving force for the Dubs in yesterday's 2-12 to 1-14 final win over Mayo, his performance leading the RTÉ 'Sunday Game' pundits to name him their Footballer of the Year.

The Ballyboden St. Enda's clubman only made his senior Championship debut for Dublin in the summer of 2010, and just over three years later he has two All-Ireland winners' medals to his name.

After watching captain Stephen Cluxton lift the Sam Maguire Cup yesterday, Macauley said: "I always thought the first (All-Ireland) would be a special one and the second was going to be, like, whatever. But no, it's serious.

"It was just as good as the first one to be honest. It's been brilliant and I can't believe we're on the list of people who have won it twice. It hasn't sunk in at all. It will definitely take a few days."

The 74-plus minutes were a tough slog for Jim Gavin's men given the injuries they shipped.

They had to unload their bench by the 53rd minute and with all their substitutes used, Rory O'Carroll (head) and Eoghan O'Gara (hamstring) were forced to play out the game with injuries.

Macauley was also among the walking wounded having suffered a suspected fracture in his left foot.

It was wrapped up in a bag of ice as he spoke afterwards about the attritional nature of the game.

"One of the lads stood on me in the first half. I'll get an X-ray tomorrow and we'll see how it is. It's not feeling great. But sure adrenalin will get you through anything. All-Ireland finals, like, lads will hang in there on half a foot," he quipped.

"We were really just clinging together. Word got to me that Eoghan O'Gara was shot (with a hamstring tear) and not to give him the ball. We'd used our subs early enough, because they'd been huge for us all year.

"Those lads have to come on and they have to do the business for us. But we had no one else to replace Eoghan, so we just clung on, got over the line and that's one of the attributes of a good team."

Macauley pointed out that Dublin's experience of winning big games really stood to them during a tense conclusion, insisting that he was confident they would hang on despite a spirited finish from the Connacht champions.

"I suppose we've done it all year. We've only been beaten once, apart from the O'Byrne Cup," he said.

"So we know how to finish out games and we've shown that all year. I had complete faith in the lads that we would come through in that game.

"And I thought our backs were unbelievable, really got on top, deserve a huge amount of credit for that - blocks, shutting men down, get out in front.

"Jim Gavin had those plans in place. Jim is such a cool customer. He never gets frazzled or anything.

"So we just stuck to the game-plan and went about our business, and made sure we got the job done."


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