COOL HEADS HAVE been the secret to Dublin’s second-half comebacks this season, according to forward Eoghan O’Gara.
The All-Ireland champions put the rest of the country on notice when they fought back from 10 points down against Cork to book a place in the National Football League final.
That same never-say-die attitude was on show a fortnight earlier when O’Gara scored two goals at the death to snatch an unlikely draw against Mayo.
And when they needed a win in their final game against Tyrone to keep their league defence alive, Diarmuid Connolly held his nerve to kick the decisive point late on.
Jim Gavin’s side now face Derry on Sunday, hoping to retain the first part of their trophy treble before the focus switches to the Leinster Championship.
O’Gara said: “We are well used to the half-time environment. The emphasis is always about staying calm and taking a few minutes to regroup in our different lines and talk calmly about what we are doing wrong and what we need to do better.
“We knew how poor we had been [against Cork]. We knew ourselves what was going wrong, what had to go right, and that’s what we talked about. We had key targets for the second half and lucky enough we were able to implement them.
“Cork, I don’t know, maybe they started to tire a bit but the game stated to go in our favour.”
Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO
He added: “There is great character and belief in the team. In the last number of years, since we won our last All-Ireland, that’s something that we have had and produced.
“We produced it in a few games towards the end of the league when the chips were down. It gives us great confidence, that we can have it in the bag when the chips are down.
We go right to the end of a game, the final whistle. It’s nice to know we have that.
“It’s probably down to a combination of things — the confidence and the faith put in us by management and the strength of character that we have amongst the players.
“It’s a great mix of older, experienced guys. Everybody on the whole squad nearly has an All-Ireland medal and the underage lads have numerous U21 All-Irelands.
“There is great trust and belief there and I think that’s what you see in those games. That’s what comes through.”
On a personal level it has been a great spring for O’Gara who has transformed himself from impact sub to a strong contender for Championship starts, scoring 3-5 in the process.
I am really enjoying my football and enjoying the amount of game time the manager has given me.
“Going into the summer, I have got a lot of game time in the league and I am in a position where hopefully I am part of a league winning team.
“Hopefully going into the summer there are more guys coming back in but it’s a much nicer position to be in, to be in there and maybe playing well so you are not having to start from scratch in the summer.”