Monday 19 February 2018

Colm O'Rourke: Gung-ho Dubs need league title more than their rivals

Football's heavyweights are shaping up to go the distance in the summer, writes Colm O'Rourke

Colm O'Rourke

Colm O'Rourke

A nyone looking for a revolution in the GAA this year will be a bit disappointed by the trends so far. Last year the best teams in the country were Cork, Dublin, Kerry, Down, Kildare and Tyrone. Not much has changed. Apart from Donegal, there is not much in the way of radical alteration on the horizon. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

At this stage it looks as if Dublin and Cork will contest the Division 1 final. Both appear to have improved from last year and have developed big panels with players fitting neatly into their systems. The major difference with Dublin is the more attacking, gung-ho approach that has characterised their wins in Croke Park in contrast to the more measured, methodical way they played last year. It has rained goals and the range of scoring forwards has improved, Kevin McManamon, Diarmuid Connolly and Mossy Quinn have gone on the rampage. Particularly last weekend when Bernard Brogan was giving Barack Obama advice on which game to attend when he arrives here in May.

Last year, Dublin were a bit like an army in defensive terms with all the lines on the field retreating in a very structured way, but the downside was that Brogan was often left isolated. As a result, Dublin were more likely to win games which were not free-scoring affairs. I doubt very much, though, that Pat Gilroy has decided to let the big dogs off the leash and that a new policy of blitzing the opposition has taken over. That would be far too risky. If that was in place for the championship then there are a few teams who would be well capable of turning the blitz on its head. Both Cork and Kerry gave enough warning of that in their league defeats in Croke Park.

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