Cuala star fol­lows Holden’s path

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - THE TITLE -

MICK FITZSI­MONS’ tiger­ish de­fend­ing in the Dublin full-back line has evoked mem­o­ries of the first Cuala club­man to win an All-Ire­land medal, the late, great Mick Holden.

When Fitzsi­mons was part of Pat Gilroy’s vic­to­ri­ous side in the 2011 All-Ire­land fi­nal, he be­came the sec­ond Cuala man to claim a Celtic Cross, fol­low­ing in Holden’s foot­steps in 1983.

Holden, who died sud­denly in Septem­ber 2007 at the young age of 52, was a fa­mil­iar fig­ure in the Dalkey club and man­aged Fitzsi­mons in mi­nor hurl­ing.

He was a main­stay of the Dublin hurlers for years, hav­ing lined out as a goal­keeper in the Dublin mi­nor team that played in the 1969 Le­in­ster fi­nal at just 14. With his brothers, PJ and Vin­nie, Holden in­spired Cuala to three Dublin hurl­ing ti­tles be­tween 1989 to 1991.

How­ever, like Fitzsi­mons, it was his de­fen­sive tenac­ity on the foot­ball field that was Holden’s call­ing card. He was an es­tab­lished mem­ber of the Dublin foot­ball team from 1979 to 1985, a pe­riod that saw him claim four Le­in­ster medals.

How­ever, it was his per­for­mance as one of Dublin’s ‘De­fi­ant Dozen’ in the fi­nal against Gal­way in 1983 that is most fondly re­called.

Holden was su­perb in de­fence for 12-man Dublin in the sec­ond half as they held out against Gal­way to win on a 1-10 to 1-8 score­line.

It proved that the big­ger the stage, the bet­ter Holden per­formed – some­thing Fitzsi­mons has also shown him­self adept at do­ing, giv­ing his man-of-the-match dis­play in last year’s All-Ire­land fi­nal re­play.

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