Sport Gaelic Football

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Dublin must change tactics if 'plan a' fails

Keith Barr

PAT Gilroy is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't when it comes to yesterday's display. He'll be happy with winning the Leinster title, but he'll be very disappointed with the performance.

Dublin were very lacklustre. They lacked intensity, particularly in the first half.

It's all about the manner in which you win a game, whether it's by one point or 10 -- that's what's crucial to the management.

Yes, they're in the All-Ireland quarter-final. Yes, they've won another Leinster title. But as I've said all year, the way they play is flawed -- and I can see why they use the system.

The majority of both teams allowed the opposition possession in their own half and Dublin would run it out from kick-outs or general play unchallenged.

Both sides were happy to do it, but the danger in all those things and funnelling people back is that against good teams you'll be punished.

It was similar to last year and Dublin should have known that. They beat Wexford by 23 points in the Leinster final three years ago, then in 2010 they had to go to extra-time to beat them.

Jason Ryan is a good manager with some good players. He will be disappointed with the amount of good possession his team had, only for them to give away the turnovers.

Dublin put a lot of pressure on and forced the turnover but then Gilroy will be annoyed that, after getting the ball, his players didn't do anything with it.

Four points from play from 37 minutes of football wouldn't win many games.

My man of the match was Wexford's Ben Brosnan -- he had a brilliant game, but I don't know who was marking him. It's hard to tell if Dublin are using zonal or man-marking.

There's a time and a place for zonal marking but the Dublin players should have realised that Brosnan was dictating the game. The Dubs never stepped up and went man for man.

Managers are going to have to realise that, 'yes, this is our Plan A but there are times in the game you have to go to Plan B or Plan C.'

For Dublin not to man-mark Brosnan was mystifying -- he scored eight points yesterday and was given the freedom of the park. Dublin never cut out his threat.

However, there are positives. Dublin only conceded 1-3 from play and Gilroy will be impressed with that. Alan Brogan and Bryan Cullen had good games,

while James McCarthy can be very happy with his first Leinster final -- he had a great game.

Gilroy will be disappointed with the shooting. There were six wides in the first half as well as six shots dropped short.

Players have to be conscious -- and I'm including Bernard Brogan, who was one of the main culprits, in this -- that you can't just shoot on sight.

One has to ask would the likes of Colm Cooper shoot in a particular situation or would he look to bring someone else into the game? That didn't happen, but another plus is that nine of Dublin's players scored.

pace

Overall, it just proves to me that for Dublin to play well they need to play a high-octane match. The game lacked a bit of pace.

Gilroy will be disappointed that the substitutes he brought in -- barring Kevin McManamon -- didn't have an impact.

Mossy Quinn got his chance in a Leinster final and is an experienced footballer and he will be disappointed with himself that he didn't take his opportunity because the word is that he's flying.

Diarmuid Connolly was named at full-forward and he started drifting deeper and deeper away from goal.

Eoghan O'Gara was the same. When he comes out the field he is like a fish out of water, but put him back into the full-forward line and he can do damage.

Dublin will regroup. They need to get their heads down and the management need to work out who their best 15 players are.

It was good to win Leinster, but they know that August will make or break their season.

Irish Independent

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