Sunday 25 February 2018

Colm O'Rourke: Defensive strategies taking the kick out of winning

Dublin have followed a cautious template in the league and it's working, says Colm O'Rourke

Colm O'Rourke

Colm O'Rourke

A nyone who wanted to see the future of football should have been in Croke Park last week for the match between Down and Dublin. Football is a completely different game now than it was even ten years ago when the idea of a massed defence took hold. This concept has moved on and become a structured part of almost all the top teams.

In the case of Dublin, a loss of possession means an almost total withdrawal of all their forces into a defensive formation behind their own midfield. When the ball is won back, the emphasis immediately changes to a few out-and-out attackers but at the same time there are plenty of players held back to mind the shop.

The big advantage of this system is that most teams won't run up a big score against them. Dublin have leaked a lot of scores over the last decade so getting the defence right is as much the key to success as any fancy attacking.

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