Monday 24 July 2017

Dubs can't fall into same trap as last year, warns Cullen

Former Dublin footballer Bryan Cullen
Former Dublin footballer Bryan Cullen
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Two-time All-Ireland winner Bryan Cullen has warned Dublin that they must be wary of being caught cold again in this year's championship, should they, as expected, come through their Leinster campaign unscathed.

Cullen, who called time on his inter-county career in January, believes that the Dubs will have learned from last year's semi-final defeat to Donegal but having been in a similar situation himself in the past, he insisted that they must be mindful of the fact that much tougher tests lie ahead than the ones they are likely to face in Leinster.

"I think Dublin will come through Leinster at a canter. For me, they are in the exact same position as they were last year," the 31-year-old said at yesterday's EirGrid U-21 All-Ireland final media day.

"They've come through the league soundly and won the final well. The big test for Dublin is going to come when they come up against a Donegal, a Tyrone or a Monaghan in the quarter/semi-final stage.

Experience

"They do have the benefit of the Donegal experience under their belt from last year. We all know the attacking prowess that they have but they have been a bit more structured at the back so hopefully they'll carry that into the championship.

"We (in his playing days) just went out there to win games. The quality of the opposition at the time wasn't there to test us and to a certain degree it probably still isn't in Leinster.

"They'll go out and play who's there and, as I said, I'd be very surprised if anyone in Leinster can get near them," he added.

Cullen has been impressed by Dublin so far this year and in particular in the way they went about dismantling a Cork side who before the league final were expected to run Dublin close.

An 11-point win last Sunday has the Dubs purring once again but he maintained that their main rivals will be only too happy for Dublin to grab the headlines again.

"Kerry are All-Ireland champions and Dublin have got an awful lot of positive praise having gone three in a row in the league but Kerry will be quite happy going under the radar again and let Dublin get all the press," Cullen said.

"I don't think Jim (Gavin) will veer too far from the same style. He likes to attack and play free-flowing football but I think the biggest difference you'll notice is maybe the centre-back covering the D a little bit more," Cullen said.

"They'll certainly try keep a numerical advantage in defence, I'd imagine that goes without saying. I think we certainly have the forwards to beat anyone so just a little tighter at the back and we'll be in a good place."

Irish Independent

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