Cuala star follows Holden’s path
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.