GAA Football

Dublin All Star defender Mick Fitzsimons wary of Donegal threat

Pictured at the GAA Hurling and Football All Ireland Senior Championship Series National Launch at Dun Aengus in the Aran Islands, Co Galway, are from left: Damien Comer (Galway), Michael Fitzsimons (Dublin) with the Sam Maguire Cup and Shane Enright (Kerry) with Seamus Harnedy (Cork), Johnny Coen (Galway) with the Liam MacCarthy Cup and David Fitzgerald (Clare). Picture: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Declan Rooney

Dublin All Star defender Mick Fitzsimons says his side learned a lot from their last defeat in the Championship – against Saturday's opponents Donegal.

That All-Ireland semi-final loss came back in 2014 and since that shock defeat Dublin have carved their way through all comers and claimed three All-Ireland titles in a row.

Fitzsimons was corner back on that team and was given a torrid time by Colm McFadden in that clash, but he says Jim Gavin's side have learned plenty since that loss.

“Yeah, we learned a huge amount from it. And I remember Cork in 2010 was the same. We learned a huge amount from that as well,” said Fitzsimons.

“We just…we had a chance to get to a final and we blew it. We were in a good position until 25 minutes into it but there was so much learning in that game. We had to do a lot of analysis.

“Yeah, football has changed a bit since then. And we've probably changed a bit since then. You'd always be wary of stuff like that, of the impact of long kick-outs, of leaving space in certain areas.

“Each game, you try and learn after each win and each loss. But it's easier to learn from the losses.

“But you definitely learn and it's brought up when you're analysing certain games.

“There was a lot of soul searching. People had to figure out where they went wrong individually, where we went wrong as a team, at what stages we could have addressed it and what we needed to bring into next year.

“2015 was a great year then. We addressed the flaws in our game and we got the result at the end of it. But it was a tough end to the summer.”

The lead up to this game has been coloured by the debate surround Croke Park being Dublin's home ground for the game against Roscommon in round three, as well as the venue for this clash with Donegal. Fitzsimons did his best to steer clear of the debate though.

“I wouldn't pay any attention to it. It might sound ignorant but it's out of our control. As a player, you find out where the game is and then you turn up and play. And that's all I can do.

“It just sounds like you're shaping the question for me to say ‘Michael Fitzsimons would have no problem with the game…' but I have no influence in this. And I know it's a sensitive subject so I don't want to be speaking about it. It's a build up to the game.

“But from my point of view, I don't pay attention to it. That's Donegal's corner to fight, as Kildare did.”

The Cuala club man and his Dublin colleagues will play one of their pool games away from home when they take on Tyrone at Healy Park in Omagh. He says they are excited by the bonding opportunity, like when they played Laois in Nowlan Park last summer.

“Yeah, Nowlan Park was great. It was a once in a lifetime to play in Nowlan Park because Dublin don't get much of a chance to play in Nowlan Park unless you're playing hurling.

“It's just a great stadium. It's great to play somewhere you've seen on TV. And the same with Omagh. I presume Dublin haven't played an away match up north?

“But to go and play in Omagh is always a great opportunity. Going away there in the league, those northern stadiums and those northern teams, there's always a great atmosphere.

“So I can only imagine it will be doubled or trebled during the summer.”

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