O’Mahoney, shown a straight red card against Clonmel Commercials, had his case turned down by the GAA’s Central Hearings Committee and Central Appeals Committee before the independent Disputes Resolution Authority finally threw out his plea to be freed up to play yesterday.
“Declan was a huge motivating factor for the team,” said McEntee.
“We felt that he should have been playing and we tried to make a positive out of what was very much a negative for a great servant of the club.
“I did expect him to get off. We looked at the video evidence.
“We had a statement from the player that he tackled and I’ll probably get into trouble for this but it’s disappointing when you see an association like the GAA hide behind process and procedures instead of doing the right thing.
“Yet again we turn around and see club players being treated differently than county players and that’s all I really want to say. I
“’m going to get into enough trouble as it is.”
O’Mahoney’s influence wasn’t missed on a day when McEntee’s plan was executed perfectly by his players.
Pushing Robbie McDaid onto Paddy Durkan and introducing speed into the half-back line in the form of Stephen O’Connor and Shane Durkin worked a treat.
“Croke Park — there’s a lot of space out there and we decided very quickly that we’ve a lot of pace and you might as well make the most of it.
“We switched things around a little bit but we’ve been doing that all year.
“Certain guys come in and others move out and it works for us. We’ve a large group of players and thankfully there’s a fair bit of pace about them.”
Richie Feeney’s move back into the half-forward-line was also preyed upon by McEntee as Bob Dwan thrived in the licence given to him further out the field. “Richie Feeney has dropped deep in all the games he’s played.
“There’s nothing new about that, we weren’t surprised about that. Bob is a fantastic athlete, you know.
“You’re taking a risk when you bring him out the field. He thinks he’s a forward!”
Michael Darragh Macauley revealed afterwards he had picked up a niggle in his leg in the build-up to the game, aggravating it once in the warm-up and again when fisting a first-half point, before he was taken off injured early in the second half.
It did little to dent his delight. “It feels special. It’s a crazy journey that we’ve been on, fighting for a Dublin championship, a mad Leinster championship and then to win it like that, it just feels surreal. It was a strange atmosphere out there.
“Things just kind of clicked for us. We got a few rubs of the green as well. It was a strange game but we’ll take it all day.”