independent

Sunday 21 October 2018

Dublin dominance is bad news for rest of the country

Dublin's captain Stephen Cluxton lifts the Sam Maguire cup after winning the All Ireland football Final at Croke Park
Dublin's captain Stephen Cluxton lifts the Sam Maguire cup after winning the All Ireland football Final at Croke Park

Sidelines - Seamus O'Hanlon

Despite a rather shaky opening 15 minutes, where Tyrone really put it up to them, Dublin's juggernaut eventually gathered sufficient momentum to roll over the underdogs and claim a record equalling four All-Ireland titles in a row.

A fast start from the Ulster men was essential and most neutrals were delighted to see them roar into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Dublin were second best during those opening exchanges and unusually for them were at sixes and sevens at the back as Tyrone's high line and aggression really unsettled them.

However, that high octane game is extremely difficult to sustain for long periods and perhaps Tyrone's dream start merited greater than a four-point advantage.

Imperious

The imperious Ciaran Kilkenny pointed on 18 minutes to reduce the gap to three and suddenly the Dubs began to find their rhythm.

The sky blue machine clicked into gear for the remainder of the half and Dublin were out of sight. Jim Gavin's men led by seven at the break and you could see no way back for Tyrone.

Dublin now had the measure of their opponents with Tyrone's key men, Matty Donnelly, Colm Kavanagh and Niall Sludden, well marshalled and exerting little or no impact after the break.

In fact it was Mickey Harte's more youthful performers who kept the Red Hand county in touch, without ever threatening the final outcome.

The second half was a drab affair punctuated only by flashes of brilliance from the outstanding Kilkenny. Tyrone did reduce the gap to four thanks to a late Peter Harte penalty but Dublin's four in a row was never under threat.

Astute

In six seasons in charge Jim Gavin's astute leadership the Dubs have delivered five All-Ireland titles and they've won six of the last eight.

Their unbeaten championship run is now at an astonishing 28 games. No county can consistently match them for hunger, fitness and skill. They are an exceptional team and based on their age profile and appetite for hard work, there is no reason why they can't complete five, six or even seven in a row.

GAA President John Horan was beaming from ear-to-ear as he presented Stephen Cluxton with his fifth Sam Maguire trophy. Why wouldn't he? He's a proud Dub and was delighted his native county secured their 27th All Ireland crown.

However as the euphoria dies down and the dust settles in the coming weeks and months, Mr Horan needs to recognise where Gaelic football is at in the rest of the country, particularly in Leinster.

Good news

There was some good news emanating from Louth last week when it emerged that real progress had been made on the County Grounds project.

Several weeks ago a select external group consisting of businessmen and former players with expertise in this area were tasked with identifying options and fair play to County Treasurer Aidan Berrill for recognising the deficiencies and putting this group together.

By all accounts huge progress has been made in a very short period of time and an official announcement is expected at next Monday night's County Board meeting.

No white smoke

There is still no 'white smoke' on an announcement of the new Louth county team manager. While there is no necessity to rush this appointment, an early decision with the full backing of the board would be welcome as there is a huge body of work to be completed to get a panel together for 2019.

Rumour has it that former Naomh Fionnbarra and Louth minor team boss Wayne Kierans is the top table's preferred candidate and again an announcement is anticipated at next Monday's board meeting.

Drogheda Independent

News