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U21s need to get their heads right to nail down All-Ireland successSUNDAY is a huge day for Dublin's U21 footballers as they face Roscommon in the U21 final (2.0) at Tullamore.

It is a game that Dublin need to be fully focused for from the first whistle.

The Dubs will enter the match as red-hot favourites -- a situation that brings its own problems.

However, the favourites tag has not weighed too heavily on their shoulders so far, but a game of this magnitude, an All-Ireland decider, is a different proposition.

I remember in 2002 -- the first year we reached the U21 All-Ireland final -- against Galway, we were in a similar position to this year's team. We had beaten a very highly rated Tyrone side with a bit to spare in our semi-final and so entered the final as favourites while the Tribesmen slipped in under the radar.

What developed was probably one of the worst days I can remember in my football career. It started right from the throw-in as Galway hit us with such intensity we didn't know where to turn. It was like a nightmare you couldn't wake up from.

It's a match I have tried to delete from my memory banks but I can still vividly remember Joe Bergin kicking points from every angle -- he was exceptional that day and inspired his men to glory.

However, Jim Gavin and Declan Darcy were involved that day as integral members of the overall management staff.

Jim is manager now while Dec, I believe, is involved in an advisory role, and those two will simply not allow the team to underperform or display a lack of focus. In fairness, anytime this young Dublin team have been thrown a challenge this year, they have responded in great style.

In saying that, Roscommon are in a great position. They did not play great, I felt, in their semi-final victory over Cavan, yet still managed to ensure a safe passage into Sunday's clash.

If Dublin's defenders work as hard as they did in their semi-final victory over Cork and successfully deny the Roscommon forwards time and space on the ball, while from midfield on they shift that ball quickly and accurately into Ciarán Kilkenny, Paul Hudson and Philly Ryan, then it will be very hard for Roscommon to stop them.

For me, it's Dublin to win by two or three points -- if their heads are right.


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