Football

"They've made the '95 lads proud" - Paul Bealin on Dubs' success

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

12:55 16 Sep 2019


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As the Dubs celebrate their five-in-a-row success this Monday (and likely Tuesday, Wednesday and beyond), OTB AM spoke to former Dublin footballer Paul Bealin on the 1995 team that helped lay the foundations.

Bealin was a midfield stalwart for the Dubs that year, alongside Brian Stynes in the centre, and believes that a combination of game intelligence and repetitive training helped the 2019 team over the line on Saturday.

He reserved particular praise for Jim Gavin, who Bealin believes has resisted immense pressure during the drive-for-five.

"It must have been phenomenal to try to get [the five-in-a-row] out of your head and stay focused. The weight of history on people's shoulders.

"The pressure on Jim Gavin would have been phenomenal in those games. The changes at half-time were brilliant.

"He could have started with Michael Darragh MacAuley in the middle and he didn't. Those are moves that you need to give him credit for, in keeping the balance right."

On Gavin's mooted departure, Bealin believes that it might be a little bit of rival mischief-making behind it all.

"I don't know what people are talking about, with him going. It is the same with Stephen [Cluxton], maybe it's some of the country lads wishing that they will go and give the rest of the country a chance!

"But they don't need to be thinking about that - they need to enjoy what they have achieved, which is history.

"They have made every player proud, including the '95 lads who were involved in that squad."

Bealin would also like to see Dubs' captain Stephen Cluxton stay on, as speculation mounts that he might call it a day after their historic win.

"He should have got more All-Stars in recent years. He has been phenomenal in goal for us, and he has changed the landscape for goalkeepers, particularly in terms of his kick-outs," Bealin said.

"Goalkeepers can last much longer than outfield players. He is in great condition and it is really up to himself. I really hope he does stay - he's a big part of that squad.

"I managed him for Parnells. He's not the loudest in the dressing room, but when he speaks, you wouldn't hear a pin drop."

There was also the strongest influences from his own contemporaries, such as Jim Gavin, Jason Sherlock and Paul Clarke. Bealin told us what each brought to the table.

"They have all played in those positions [that they are coaching individually]. Don't forget, when Jim Gavin played when Meath were very strong, his role was stopping Graham Geraghty coming forward. That was unheard of then. All of those players will know what they need to do.

"They come with great respect. Paul Clarke and Jason Sherlock have been around the under-age teams and senior teams. They know about systems and the way they need to play.

"Jim Gavin is the captain of it all. He surrounds himself with really good people that bring something to it."

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