Thursday 29 September 2016

Darby says supersubs will decide final battle

Michael Verney

Published 18/09/2015 | 02:30

Seamus Darby playing for Offaly in June 1983
Seamus Darby playing for Offaly in June 1983

Seamus Darby appreciates the importance of impact substitutions more than most having come off the bench in 1982 to score an iconic goal which derailed Kerry's quest for a famous five-in-a-row.

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The Offaly legend brilliantly beat Charlie Nelligan with his only touch of the game to cement his place in Gaelic football folklore forever.

Darby believes the contributions made by "fresh legs" like Dublin's Kevin McManamon could help swing the All-Ireland final away from reigning champions Kerry.

McManamon is particularly potent when sprung from the sidelines, scoring 1-1 in both games against Mayo this season, and the three-time All-Ireland winner has enormous respect for his role.

"Naturally enough, everyone wants to start but Kevin would be delighted just to get a run. He has this uncanny ability of always doing the business when he's brought in and it's quite remarkable. He's part and parcel of what Dublin are about," he said.

"I know if I was him I'd much rather be a sub on a really good team than to be the star on a bad one. He's going for his third All-Ireland medal and it don't think being a sub will bother him much."

Attritional

Darby expects Sunday's decider to be highly attritional, with black cards and huge amounts of movement meaning that the role of the substitute is more influential now than at any stage in the past.

"You need fresh subs ready to come into the game and make an impact.

"In my day corner-forwards or corner-backs hardly moved but it's all change now," the Rhode clubman noted.

"Subs are the last throw of the dice really and if they don't contribute then the game is lost. Both teams have serious players on the sideline, players who are capable of winning All-Irelands on their own and that makes subs more important than ever."

Darby expects the Kerry bench to hold the edge with Tommy Walsh and Paul Galvin, amongst others, to call upon, while he laughs at how many fantastic players will see no action in Croke Park at all, such is the wealth of talent available.

Interestingly, Darby pulled a hamstring in Offaly's Leinster final victory over Dublin in '82 and he feels that Cian O'Sullivan is highly unlikely to participate fully given the nature of his injury.

"I'd leave him off if it was me. When it happened to me, it was impossible to even tog out against Galway three weeks later in the semi-final. I couldn't believe how bad it was and it would have been impossible to play," he stressed.

"I wasn't able to run and if his is anything like mine then he won't be able to play either.

"There simply isn't enough time to recover.

"If he starts and has to be replaced then they have the same problem all over again. His participation is a game-changer."

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