Sport Gaelic Football

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Unpicking blanket defences ultimate test for Gavin's buccaneers

Donny Mahoney

Published 23/07/2014 | 02:30

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If Dublin do face Monaghan or Donegal in the All-Ireland semi-final, it'll be the first time that Jim Gavin's Dublin will have encountered a rigid defensive system in the championship this year. Photo: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE
If Dublin do face Monaghan or Donegal in the All-Ireland semi-final, it'll be the first time that Jim Gavin's Dublin will have encountered a rigid defensive system in the championship this year. Photo: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE

Much has been written about Dublin's incredible dominance in Leinster this year, but if they're to win their third Sam Maguire in four seasons it won't have been done cheaply.

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Their road to Croker on September 21 will most likely involve games against Monaghan, Donegal and one of Kerry and Mayo. Winning the All-Ireland will mean beating the two strongest defensive counties and one of the most rounded ones.

We spoke to an elated Brendan Devenney on Monday's show and he was already looking forward to Donegal's potential All-Ireland semi-final with Dublin in August.

"When the best offence and the best defence play, there's only ever one winner," the former Donegal star said, before calling it for Jim McGuinness and Co. The prospect of facing the Dublin side that won their three games in Leinster by a combined margin 43 points didn't seem to faze him.

And Devenney is right to be confident.

Across sport, when the best defences and the best offences clash, defence almost always wins.

The American media talked themselves into siding with the Denver Broncos in this year's Super Bowl, even though the Seattle Seahawks' defense had been impregnable all season.

Seattle went on to crush the Broncos.

Somewhat amazingly, if Dublin do face Monaghan or Donegal, it'll be the first time that Jim Gavin's Dublin will have encountered a rigid defensive system in the championship this year.

Dublin's 0-8 to 0-6 victory over Donegal, with its 'shi'ite football,' was an all-time low point for some, but it was one of the most intensely-played games of Gaelic football I can remember.

It seems unbelievable now that any Dublin team could be held to two points in one half of play.

How will Gavin solve the blanket defence? We're about to find out.

Irish Independent

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