Cormac Costello says it was a dream to come off the bench and score three points in an All-Ireland final win with Dublin.
Costello was the star underage player who featured in All-Ireland minor hurling and football finals and who added an Under-21 winner’s medal to his impressive collection.
But the 22-year-old hasn’t been able to break into Jim Gavin’s senior side despite the early promise, so to make such an important contribution off the bench was sweet.
"He has been an outstanding player underage – had a little bit of a dip in form – but has come back strong now" - Jim Gavin
“It's a dream to be part of this team, I'm just delighted to be part of it,” said the Whitehall Colmcille man.
“I was just delighted to get a chance and go in and do your best for them team. It's just a special group of players.”
Costello came on for Kevin McManamon up front with less than a quarter of-an-hour to go in normal time and scored three points, making him the joint-top scorer from either side from play.
“We say it all the time; we have 30 players in the squad and of all the 30 of us there today any one of us could have come on and done a job. That's the team ethos we have,” said Costello.
“We're attack-minded and when you come on everything is just offensive. We go at them. I was fresh. I could move a bit more than the others.
“It was up and down. I was gassed after about five minutes. The intensity was big but fair play to Mayo they brought a huge amount of intensity and I'm just delighted we came out on the right side of it.
“You have to give credit to Mayo. They got the better of us, especially in our forward line. The backs were superb. We gave them great respect and we are just delighted to get it right.”
Dublin’s bench contributed four points from play, the other coming from Bernard Brogan, and this made a huge difference in a tight game won by a point - 1-15 to 1-14.
Gavin knows the strength he has in reserve and he explained his reasoning for springing Costello off the bench when he didn’t use him in the drawn game.
“He’s playing well in training,” he said. “Those three points that he got, I could give you lots of tape from training games and training in general that he kicks. That’s the form that he’s in.
“We had faith in him. We believed he would have an impact with his pace. He has been an outstanding player underage – had a little bit of a dip in form – but has come back strong now. With his club Whitehall Colmcille, we had seen that form as well. He timed his run.”
As well as scoring Costello got back and helped out in defence too, though not always to the best effect.
He was the player that gave away the late free which could have sent the game to extra-time so he would have been even more relieved than his team mates to see Cillian O’Connor’s added-time effort slip wide at the Hill 16 end of the ground.