Jim Gavin heaps praise on man-of-the-match Fitzsimons

Fitzsimons had a superb game for Dublin
Fitzsimons had a superb game for Dublin

Dublin manager Jim Gavin lauded All-Ireland final man of the match Michael Fitzsimons after seeing his side win back-to-back All-Ireland titles for the first time since 1977.

Fitzsimons wasn't named in the team announced during the week but the Cuala man started in the full-back line and seized his opportunity.

“He’s been playing well all season,” Gavin said. “David, Philly [McMahon] and Jonny [Cooper] were playing well in the full-back line, but he grabbed his chance with both hands and he played very well.”

Gavin, who has lost just one Championship match in four incredible years as Dublin manager, made three changes from the replay with Paul Mannion, Paddy Andrews and Fitzsimons getting the nod over Bernard Brogan, Michael Darragh Macauley and Davy Byrne.

The Dubs boss revealed that all the players accepted the decisions when they were informed.

“They’re part of that culture system and they know that the team is the sum of its parts,” he explained.

“They’re disappointed not to play, but once it’s explained to them they take it. Bernard came on and did very well, Darren Daly came on and deep into the game and got a match-winning block.”

Cormac Costello came on and popped over three vital points to the delight of Gavin.

“Cormac has been playing well in training and those three points he got I could get you tape of training games and that’s the form that he’s in,” said Gavin.

“We had faith in him - he’s been outstanding underage, he had a dip, but he’s come back strong now.”