Macauley manages to put his best foot forward

Paddy Andrews lifts Michael Darragh MaCauley, as Dublin celebrate beating Mayo in the 2013 All Ireland senior football final at Croke Park. Photograp: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Paddy Andrews lifts Michael Darragh MaCauley, as Dublin celebrate beating Mayo in the 2013 All Ireland senior football final at Croke Park. Photograp: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Mon, Sep 23, 2013, 01:01

No one said it would be easy, and Michael Darragh Macauley looks down at his left foot, wrapped up in a bag of ice, knowing he got off lightly.

“One of the lads stood on me in the first half,” he says. “I’ll get an X-ray, tomorrow, and we’ll see how it is. It’s not feeling great. But sure adrenalin will get you through anything. In an All-Ireland final, lads will hang together with half a foot”.

That Macauley very likely played the entire second half with a fractured bone in his left foot perfectly demonstrated what this Dublin team were both willing and able to do in order to win back the All-Ireland.

Eoghan O’Gara also emerges from the Dublin dressing room with his left hamstring under a strapping of ice, while others – namely Philly McMahon, Jonny Cooper and Rory O’Carroll – simply needed a gentle ice pack for their heads.

“We were really just clinging together,” says Macauley. “Word got to me that Eoghan O’Gara was shot, and don’t give him the ball. We used our subs early enough, because our subs have been huge for us all year.

“Those lads have to come on and they have to do the business for us. But we had no one else to replace Eoghan, so we just clung on, got over the line, and I suppose that’s one of the attributes of a good team.

“I suppose we’ve done it all year. We’ve only been beaten once, apart from the O’Byrne Cup. So we know how to finish out games and we’ve shown that all year. I had complete faith in the lads that we would come through in that game.

“And I thought our backs were unbelievable, really got on top, deserve a huge amount of credit for that, blocks, shutting men down, get out in front.

“Jim Gavin had those plans in place. Jim is such a cool customer. He never gets frazzled or anything. So we just stuck to the game plan, and went about our business, and made sure we got the job done.”

Even when playing on only one good foot.