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Doherty: This Dublin side will eclipse Heffo's heroes of the 1970s

SEÁN Doherty says he expects the current Dublin team to match his side's record of three All-Ireland titles this year and accepts the inevitability that this squad's achievements will eventually eclipse his own.

'I think they will do it this year," said Doherty - Kevin Heffernan's captain during Dublin's breakthrough season of 1974 - upon his induction to the Bray Emmets Kick Fada Hall of Fame yesterday.

"There is no physical weakness, or lack of pace in the team. It's only in the brain where it could slip. With so many guys rooting for places in the team, if you do get the jersey you've earned it.

"But the team is young enough to go on."

Given a success this September would be Dublin's third All-Ireland in four years, there are inevitable and obvious parallels with the fabled side of the 70s, who famously came from almost total obscurity to win the 1974, '76 and '77 titles.

Doherty reckons there are key lessons to be learned too.

"They are in with a great chance unless they think Donegal are going to be handy one," he pointed out.

"We discovered that. We were back in the semi final in '75 and we thought it was going to be a handy one - 'we'll get through this young Kerry team, we'll motor on' - but to our astonishment they turned us over and that was it.

"We came back and beat them for the two years after that. It does show you how the mind can be affected by winning and no matter what amount of preparation you make mentally. You might be physically fit, but mentally if you are not right you are out of the equation straight away."

Asked the chief difference between modern footballers and the teams on which he played, Doherty insisted: "They are a bit fitter and they are far better behaved.

"The lads today, they absolutely tow the line, no pints and no drink and their training schedules are totally different.

"Their rest periods are different - recovery times and all that - it all makes a big difference to how they play the game.

"In our day, if we were given the opportunity that the present guys have we would put them to the pin of their collar - we had an experienced team, good football heads on them, which was essential to us at the time.

Behaved

"If that '74 team, if they had the same facilities as today and we behaved ourselves I'd say we would be the same."

Nevertheless, Doherty says he prefers the style of today's matches rather than those of his own era.

"No, I enjoy today's football. Man-to-man is very boring football," Doherty reckoned.

"It was very boring football. The way the game is styled today and the way they are moving and performing, the pace of these young fellas is phenomenal. You take (Jonny) Cooper and (James) McCarthy."

Asked to select the best Dublin forward amongst a current cast of many, Doherty replied: "I'd opt for (Eoghan) O'Gara (pictured, left). "I love his approach to winning the ball. He's very strong at winning the ball. He is very strong on the ball, he can be very accurate and he can also pick out the guys around him who are free to he has a good head on him.

"With his club, if he gets four kicks of the ball, he'll score 2-2.

"He's the same with the county. He's just so strong and a real burst of pace he's difficult to stop."


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