Saturday 24 February 2018

Colm O'Rourke: Dubs need to turn back clock after latest reality check

Pat Gilroy's side must restore the successful team ethic of last year, says Colm O'Rourke

Colm O'Rourke

Colm O'Rourke

It was Robert Louis Stevenson who said that "to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive". A lot of managers and players who are preparing for do-or-die games today might agree with this assessment.

With the winners this afternoon there will also be losers and relegation is an even bigger issue than promotion or qualification for the knock-out stages. Therefore those on the wrong side of results today would hardly agree with the Taoist view that the journey is the reward. That fits in neatly with their view that compassion and humility are the most important things in life but there are few managers who, having taken their side down a division, would get away with telling players, the county board and supporters that it was a great experience.

Many are looking for a win to turn around a string of results and maybe even a season. Dublin are hardly in that position but Mayo exposed some very worrying deficiencies in their game. The only good thing from Pat Gilroy's point of view is that there is plenty of time to change. What must be most worrying for him is that the things which set them apart are now coming back to haunt them. It is not about individuals particularly, but the tightness associated with them last year is fraying at the edges.

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