It wasn’t pretty but Dublin fans won’t care and neither did their manager Jim Gavin after an All-Ireland at the first time of asking.
The former Dubs star steered his team to a one point win, 2-12 to 1-14, over perennial bridesmaids Mayo at Croke Park on Sunday.
The free flowing football promised by the two best teams in the country never materialised as two Bernard Brogan goals proved decisive as Dublin won a second All-Ireland in three years.
And Gavin, in his first year in charge, was adamant the praise be directed at his team.
He told Irish state broadcaster RTE: “It’s not about the manager or the management team - it’s about the players. It’s about, commitment, resolve and self-sacrifice that they have shown to help their county this year.
“There is great spirit and a collective will within the group. Five or six players were up in the stand today that didn’t feature - but they are just as important as those down on the pitch and on the bench.”
Gavin was delighted with the way his team hung on for victory at a time when players were falling like flies with injuries.
He added: “Both Rory O’Carroll and Eoghan O’Gara were badly injured and were effectively out of the game.
“We had to make sure we kept ahead and there was a serious amount of work done by the 13 other fit players on the pitch.”
Dublin’s Paul Flynn described his second All-Ireland Football title medal as “surreal” after their 2-12 to 1-14 win over Mayo in Croke Park.
The Dubs hung on for a one-point win over Mayo in a game not rich in quality but it was one of the most bruising and physical finals in memory.
Dublin player Paul Flynn was in dreamland after securing a second All-Ireland medal.
Flynn said: “It is a bit surreal at the minute. I’m so tired I can’t even think straight. I’m so happy. You win one and you think that’s all you ever want in life.
“To go on and be able to work hard and get a bunch of lads to push each other to the limit every training session, and come out and get that performance against a cracking Mayo team, it was just one of those years.
“We did it the hard way. We played all the top teams. It was amazing.
“I want to thank every member of the team and the management team for all the hard work that was put in during the year.
“We played to the final minute and as long as we are up at the end, we don’t care what it is at half-time. We just keep working hard.”
Mayo boss James Horan was honest in his assessment after another missed opportunity for his team.
He said: “We had enough ball to win the game but we made too many basic mistakes. Our handpassing let us down. Quite simply the ball has to stick. Coughing up needless possession is killing in an All-Ireland final.
“We created the chances, but we didn’t get the return that was required.
“Look, Dublin scored more than us and they deserved their victory. But we had enough possession out there and we didn’t make sufficient use of it.”
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