Monday 27 January 2020

Complacency Dub's biggest enemy in title quest - Doherty

Sean Doherty was inducted into the All Ireland Kick Fada Hall of Fame
Sean Doherty was inducted into the All Ireland Kick Fada Hall of Fame
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

IT'S heading for 40 years to the day since Sean Doherty lifted the siege and the Sam Maguire in one simple motion.

Two All-Ireland titles in the previous 30 years meant the 1974 All-Ireland title was a landmark day for Dublin football in its own right but history marks that out as the birth of 'Heffo's Army' and the beginning of one of the most memorable periods in Gaelic football history.

"It didn't feel like it was the start of something," recalls the Wicklow born Doherty.

"It just felt like we were using a new tactic to help us win games.

"That was the first time that a county team had used two full-forwards to create a runner in Bobby Doyle and when he came out he was a loose man, a free man around the park and you had to find him with the ball and he was the support to whoever was in possession.

"We opened up space and used to lash the ball down to whoever was in that area."

Dublin, it seems, are back in the midst of a golden era and a third All-Ireland title this year would see Jim Gavin's men match the achievements of Kevin Heffernan's side.

Perhaps it's because he's been around good teams enough to recognise one when he sees it but Doherty dispenses with the pleasantries when asked about Gavin's side and the potential they possess this year and beyond. Simply put, only a mental lapse, he says, will see them caught this side of the All-Ireland final.

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"I think they will do it this year," reckons Doherty.

"They are in with a great chance unless they think Donegal is going to be handy one.

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

"There is no physical weakness, or lack of pace in the team. It's only in the brain where it could slip."

Doherty was the latest inductee into the Kick Fada Hall of Fame in the Croke Park Hotel yesterday (pictured left) with this year's competition taking place in the Bray Emmets ground on Saturday, September 13.

Doherty sees differences in the Donegal team of 2012 and the one Dublin will face on Sunday.

Colm McFadden's form might mean their marquee player, Michael Murphy, could be pushed further forward than he has been this year.

But he's confident Dublin have the right man to deal with the threat posed by the Glenswilly man in Rory O'Carroll.

"One or two guys have fallen back a bit. McFadden has fallen back. He is not the force he was two years ago.

"It may force Donegal to keep Murphy up front. (Rory) is a very intelligent full back. probably the most intelligent full-back there is in the game today. Very fast, he is able to read the game extremely well."

And as for a showdown between the team of the 1970s and the current crop?

"They are a bit fitter and they are far better behaved," he smiled. "But in our day if we were given the opportunity that the present guys have we would put them to the pin of their collar to beat us," Doherty added.

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