TV View: Dublin goal hero Murchan finally gives Marty the slip with well-timed run
Fleet-footed hero showed off his fast feet again in post-match interview
Dublin’s Eoin Murchan scores the only goal of the game. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho
You might say that the baby-faced assassin Eoin Murchan knows a thing or two about timing given how his goal within nine seconds of the restart provided the defining score of Dublin’s historic five-in-a-row of All-Ireland titles, something that had RTÉ commentator Ger Canning likening them to the Invincibles.
But will Murchan ever forgive Marty Morrissey? As the on-field post-match celebrations had grown men in blue jerseys in tears out on the sacred sod, and as his team-mates with the Sam Maguire hoisted aloft sprinted in unison towards their devoted followers on Hill 16, Murchan was left behind for a bit of a chat with Marty.
You could sense Murchan was torn about doing the interview at all, with one ear and an occasional glance towards the roars behind him as his team wallowed in the glory of it all in front of the Hill.
“What a spectacular goal,” murmured Marty. “Did you see the gap opening?”
“To be honest, I don’t really know what happened. I just got the ball, soloed, saw a gap and went for it,” said Murchan of his Usain Bolt-like sprint into the Davin Stand for a first championship goal.
“You were hesitant about doing the interview, you’re good at interviews and good at scoring goals,” responded Marty after the chit-chat, and his words were still hanging in the air when the fleet-footed Murchan had ditched Marty and was racing away to rejoin his team-mates. Gone in a flash.
In fairness to Stephen Rochford – the former Mayo manager, who had been shipped in as analyst to replace Joe Brolly, of whom there wasn’t a mention – Murchan’s introduction ahead of the game was signalled as a particularly good move by Jim Gavin. “It offers Dublin better balance,” opined Rochford, although not even he could have foreseen the attacking goal-scoring contribution of a player described in commentary by Canning as “like watching a young lad about under 14 who was racing through that time against a man who has been around for quite a while in David Moran.”
There was some studio chit-chat about the number of steps Murchan had taken as referee Conor Lane played him advantage after Moran desperately sought to test the fabric of the blue jersey, with Colm O’Rourke by Saturday night’s Saturday Game highlights programme putting the number of baby-steps at up to 12.
Before the match, Pat Spillane had Ciarán Whelan beside him squirming. “No Kerry team will come to an All-Ireland final lacking belief. They got inside Dublin’s head [in the drawn match] and they have sowed a little seed of doubt that we can match up. It is to make that seed of doubt a little bit larger and exploit it,” said Spillane who once had his own shot at a five-in-a-row.
Spillane told us how after that defeat to Offaly in 1982 his post-match recuperation found him looking for a quiet place. “I locked myself into a private cubicle and I cried,” he said. But when the Dubs had done what all others before have failed to do in the history of men’s GAA by claiming a fifth successive title, Spillane was full of sincerity in saluting the champions.
“Can I just applaud this Dublin team, the most successful team of the modern generation . . . great players, great role models. What I like about them, they’re all leaders, their decision-making, their game management, their composure. Hats off to them. The best team by a mile won on the day,” said Spillane.
Perhaps the greatest team ever? As Canning’s co-commentator Kevin McStay put it, “this is the history-making team in the history of the GAA, probably the greatest team of all time, certainly in my lifetime . . . and all so brilliantly led by the great Jim Gavin.”
And on Sky Sports, Paul Earley was like-minded. “A phenomenal, historic achievement . The way they won it today was the most impressive (of the five), their best final performance since 2011. Efficiency in front of goal was magnificent. The team reflects the personality of Jim Gavin.”
And what do you think history-makers would get up to after becoming history-makers? Well, Ciarán Kilkenny – later named man of the match on the Saturday Game – told RTÉ’s pitchside reporter Clare McNamara: “Yahoo! We did it . . . . [let’s] just go partee.”
It might even have eclipsed a Marty Party.