Dessie Farrell played down Dublin’s achievement of six consecutive All-Ireland titles, and instead wanted the focus on how his “new team” won the Sam Maguire Cup this year.
“I’m delighted for the players,” he told Sky Sports after his team’s 2-14 to 0-15 win over Mayo.
“Obviously they have been hugely successful over the last number of years. Jim (Gavin) and his management team did a fabulous job. But this was a new beginning for us; a new team, 10 new players came in at the start [of the year]. A new management team. So that’s how we approached it.
“It wasn’t about six-in-a-row, it was about trying to be the best that we can to evolve as a team and win a first.”
The Sky Blues were pushed all the way by Mayo, but eventually came up with the answers in the final quarter to dig out a five-point victory and Farrell knows they had a fight on their hands.
“I actually thought we played very well, given the challenge we knew Mayo were going to present,” said the Na Fianna man.
“The finals against Mayo over the years have been historically very tight affairs, and we knew it was going to be no different in this one. We went toe-to-toe with them.
“At times, they looked to be in the ascendancy, particularly coming out for the second half with the black card. Although we were two points up, they were putting us to the pin of our collar before the black card. I said, ‘we just need to batten down the hatches here and hold on, and if we can ride out this patch, then maybe we will be able to kick on’. Thankfully that’s how it worked out.”
Horan vows Mayo will learn from the defeat
Mayo boss James Horan felt the Connacht champions had a golden opportunity.
“Very disappointed,” he said. “Going into the last water break, we were in a strong position. Momentum was starting to turn against us. Some of the subs they brought on made a big impact I felt. We were struggling to keep with it at that stage.
“We did a lot of things right, but just in the end, they showed what a side they are with possession, and ran out winners in the end.”
Horan was pleased with the manner in which Mayo battled back from a catastrophic start, and feels they will be stronger for the experience.
“We’re a very young team,” he added. “We’re a very young panel. We know mistakes [will happen], we make them along the way. But that doesn’t really bother us, because we learn from them all the time and we’ll keep trying to learn, and we’ll learn from today.
“We made a good few mistakes. The early goal was very early! But our response to that – we dominated a lot of the first half, and responded very well.
“But we had a lot of possession today that we could have done a lot more with. We were loose with some of it when we were through on goal, a lot short into the goalie’s hands and that kind of stuff. You can’t do that against a team like Dublin, so there’s huge learnings for us there.”
Tune into Inside The Game on Wednesday evening on Sky Sports Mix, as our pundits review the final, as well as the season as a whole.
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