Sunday 22 October 2017

Don't overplay league final result

Dublin manager Jim Gavin. Photo: Sportsfile
Dublin manager Jim Gavin. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Make two notes now because you can be guaranteed that one will be trotted out as the definitive, if utterly predictable, line in post-match analysis in the event of Dublin and Kerry meeting in this year's championship.

If Kerry win, last Sunday's game will be bestowed with huge significance, the day when they put doubts in Dublin heads and exploited them again on an even bigger day. If Kerry lose, the league final will be dubbed Dublin's 'wake-up call', the game which concentrated minds, making players realise how much they had to do.

Neither is necessarily true but the result will make one of them sound the essence of informed judgement. But then we live in a world of absolutes, even in sport, where the winners are always deemed to be better and smarter than the losers, irrespective of the margin.

If a forward collected the rebound when Dean Rock's free hit the post in the final seconds last Sunday and scored the winning goal, it would have been portrayed as a case of Jim Gavin's men knowing how to win in tight finishes and Kerry unable to escape from Dublin's psychological grip.

It was all down to a matter of inches - first with Rock's kick hitting the post and then a Kerry defender winning possession - yet the result is being seen as hugely significant. The reality is that there has been very little between Dublin and Kerry in recent years, even if results tilted in the Blues' direction.

Mayo, Tyrone, Monaghan and Donegal have been in the close mix too. There's no reason why they all won't stay there and, hopefully, be joined a some others. The big issue in football for several seasons has been Dublin's utter dominance in Leinster, not elsewhere. Only Leinster counties can sort that out.

Irish Independent

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