GAA Football

Jason Sherlock enjoying the rare oul times with Dublin

Paul Mannion won his fifth All-Ireland title on Saturday, the first came in 2013. Pic Philip Walsh.
Andy Watters

RARE oul times for Dublin but they weren't always like this and they won't always be.

Jason Sherlock knows that.

‘Jayo' burst onto the inter-county scene in 1995, delighting Hill 16 with his pace and bravery and the thrilling scores they produced and winning the Sam Maguire in his first year on the panel.

But over the next 15 seasons an occasional Leinster title was as good as it got, the Dubs didn't even make it back to another All-Ireland decider.

The Finglas native was unlucky that his time came when Dublin football was at a low ebb but he has played a part in his county's historic five in-a-row as a coach in the multi-talented backroom team run by Dubs' manager Jim Gavin (his team-mate in the 1995 triumph).

“They are just a special bunch,” said Sherlock when asked what has set this history-making Dublin team apart.

“They are very humble, they want to learn every day and they bring the energy to every training session. They want to get better so it's up to us to give them that opportunity.”

As for making history, the magnitude of what Dublin had achieved hadn't sunk in yet.

Sherlock, Gavin, their colleagues in the backroom and the players refused to let immortality get in the way of winning the game on Saturday.

“You don't think of it being history initially,” said Sherlock.

“It was just nice to get the win today, we had a great challenge against Kerry in the first game, we learned a lot and we prepared accordingly. It was nice to get on the right side of the result.

“Full credit to Kerry for the way that they played, they don't take a step backwards and it was a great challenge for our boys.

“I can only have the utmost respect for our boys the way they figured it out and came up with a way to get the win and that's down to the players.

“They play football with a smile on their face and when a chance arises they'll try and take it. It was great for Eoin (Murchan), starting and then kicking a goal. He epitomises the spirit in the camp.”

Before he left I asked: “And can you do six?”

“I dunno,” said Jayo, smiling as he walked off to join the post-match party.

“Ask me next year.”

Meanwhile, Paul Mannion was a man of the match contender on Saturday evening. The Kilmacud Croke's forward won the fifth All-Ireland winners' medal of his career – his first came in 2013 and then there was a break until he began a personal four in-a-row from 2016 onwards. Now a pivotal part of a devastating forward unit, Mannion remains hungry for more success.

“It's amazing, it's absolutely amazing,” he agreed.

“To come up against such a tough challenge, really Kerry went at us so hard. Even when we scored the goal they came back at us. It's incredible.”

He added: “You probably can't appreciate it now for a little while until you look back after this season.

“This day is brilliant, we'll be back next year but we'll enjoy this week first.”

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