Gavin's naive tactics could end up costing Dubs dearly
Published 30/03/2016 | 02:30
Yes, they eventually won but Dublin still have no idea how to play against defensive teams. In fact, after watching Saturday night's game, I think Jim Gavin is a pretty poor manager tactically.
By my count, Dublin had 14 kickouts in the game. They went short with 12 of them and long with two. The two that were kicked long were out of necessity rather than wanting to; Donegal had forced them into it.
Going short with kickouts against a defensive team like Donegal is madness. All it achieved was it allowed Donegal players to sprint back inside their 45-metre line and set up their defensive screen. How was this not noticed before the game or even during it?
Donegal pushed up and went man for man for Dublin's kickouts so both sets of players were in a relatively orthodox formation before the ball is kicked. Going long with their kickouts would mean taking half the Donegal team out of the game. By the time the kickout is won, Dublin would be past midfield and the retreating Donegal players would be playing catch-up.
Dublin had a natural fetcher in Brian Fenton back in midfield too, so there was no excuse. They thought they were being clever going short with their kickouts but were playing straight into Donegal's hands.
They won the game because Donegal were in containing mode rather than wanting to go and win the game. They were out on their feet in the last quarter too. Pushing up all over the field for kickouts and sprinting back again is energy-sapping and almost impossible to continue for 70 minutes.
When will teams learn that going so defensive doesn't beat Dublin? The game is impossible to watch and it's just too difficult to get the scores at the other end.
At one point in the first half all 28 outfield players were between the 21 and 45-metre lines in Donegal's half. It resembled a poor juvenile game rather than the highest level of our game. CP