It is a second All-Ireland success in 12 months for Eoin Murchan, but 2018 has proven to be a far more satisfying year for the sticky defender.

One of the few talking points ahead of Jim Gavin’s team selection for the All-Ireland final was centered on defence. The four in a row seeking Dubs had a pretty settled side, but there were two men vying desperately for one position in defence.

Eoin Murchan made just one appearance in Leinster as a substitute in their championship opener against Wicklow in Portlaoise with the experienced Mick Fitzsimons in favour.

However Murchan man started every one of the Super 8s encounters, particularly impressing on a man-marking mission on Niall Sludden in Omagh.

The Na Fianna man struggled somewhat against Galway's Ian Burke in the All-Ireland semi-final, conceding two points from play, and it was Fitzsimons’ introduction for the injured Cian O’Sullivan which steadied the ship.

Despite the Cuala man's superb showing in last year's decider against Mayo, Gavin however stuck with Murchan and it marked a significant contrast to his All-Ireland experience 12 months ago.

As the Dubs edged past their closest rivals by the bare minimum in another cliff hanger, Murchan wasn’t even part of the match-day squad. In fact he had a very different role on the day.

"I was helping in the stats box for the game," he told RTÉ Sport. "It’s good to be out on the pitch."

He knows full well the value of the squad in pushing the team to new heights.

"All the work that leads to the win is done on the training pitch. Every member of our panel, from 1 to 36 has played a part in getting us there.

"It’s the guys 26-36 who are pushing the rest of the guys."

Eoin Murchan wins possession ahead of Conor McAliskey

While Dublin announced their starting XV on Saturday, Murchan himself only found out he had retained his place the night before.

The defender admitted he had to "keep it as quiet as possible" and naturally gave social media a wide berth.

Did the late notice add to the pressure?

"It keeps you on your toes and doesn’t allow you to become complacent," he says. "You have to keep pushing in training right up until the end."

"We’ll enjoy this one for now but we’ll come back fighting next year"

In a squad laden with silverware, Murchan has one of the lighter medal hauls. The disappointing news for the other 31 counties, there is no sense that the champions are happy with their lot.

"Some of the guys have six medals, a lot of us only have two or three and that’s why we put in so much work during the year.

"We’ll enjoy this one for now but we’ll come back fighting next year."