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record breakers Seven of the Boys in Blue are still in the hunt for All-Ireland history

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Michael Darragh Macauley and Cian O’Sullivan. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Michael Darragh Macauley and Cian O’Sullivan. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Michael Darragh Macauley and Cian O’Sullivan. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

The retirement of seven-time All-Ireland medallist Paddy Andrews leaves 36 players, still on the Dublin squad, who between them have collected 169 Celtic Crosses in the last ten years.

It remains to be seen whether any other player will follow Andrews - who was on the extended panel in 2020 - and ride into the football sunset.

Cian O'Sullivan and Michael Darragh Macauley were largely peripheral figures last season, though the latter was in the 26-member match-day squad against Mayo, while O'Sullivan was troubled by his perennial hamstring injury for most of the season.

Both have eight All-Ireland medals and are on the cusp of history together with Stephen Cluxton, James McCarthy, Mick Fitzsimons, Philly McMahon and Kevin McManamon.

All seven have won eight All-Ireland medals to equal the all-time record haul held by the Kerry quintet of Pat Spillane, Ogie Moran, Mike Sheehy, Ger Power, and the late Páidí O Sé. So the seven-in-a-row for Dublin would be history making for the 'Magnificent Seven.'

There is now a frightening chasm between the Dublin footballers and their contemporaries.

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 Paddy Andrews

Paddy Andrews

Paddy Andrews

In the wake of the retirement of three Kerry players - Shane Enright, Jonathan Lyne and Brian Kelly - there are now just 14 footballers from outside Dublin, still active at county level, who have a Celtic Cross.

The list is dominated by Kerrymen. David Moran, Paul Murphy, Peter Crowley, Stephen O'Brien, Paul Geaney, and James O'Donoghue all started for the Kingdom in the 2014 final in which they defeated Donegal.

Pa Kilkenny was an unused substitute on final day while Jack Sherwood was on the extended panel.

Tommy Walsh has two medals, from 2007 and 2009, lining out at corner forward when Kerry beat Cork in the latter decider. He subsequently tried life in the AFL before returning home in 2015.

There are four survivors from Donegal's 2012 All-Ireland winning team still playing for the county: Michael Murphy, Paddy McBrearty, Paddy McGrath and Neil McGee.

In the wake of the retirement of Paul Kerrigan, there are just two survivors from the 2010 Rebels' All-Ireland winning squad, though neither featured in the 2020 championship.

After winning his Celtic Cross at the age of 19, Ciarán Sheehan moved to Australia in 2013 and spent four years playing professional AFL. He was ruled out of this year's Munster championship with an knee injury.

The other survivor Eoin Cadogan, now focuses on hurling.

Dublin's ability to refresh their squad is a primary reason why they have created a dynasty in the last decade.

Fresh

Robbie McDaid, Sean Bugler and Paddy Small established themselves as first-time championship regulars in 2020.

New boss Dessie Farrell also introduced six fresh faces to the extended squad.

St Jude's Tom Lahiff was the most high profile of the newbies, starting the Leinster championship games against Westmeath and Laois, while Aaron Byrne came off the bench against Westmeath.

The four other first-timers were James Doran, Sean McMahon, Dara Mullin and Cian Murphy. The new generation is shaping up well.

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