Saturday 7 December 2019

Cuthbert's Kerry-like Rebels now top threat to Dubs' All-Ireland crown – Caffrey

Former Dublin manager Paul Caffrey
Former Dublin manager Paul Caffrey
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Former Dublin football manager Paul Caffrey believes the appointment of Brian Cuthbert as Cork manager makes the Rebels the biggest threat to Dublin's All-Ireland title.

'Pillar' Caffrey was full of praise for Cork's recent good form in their league campaign and he has no doubts that the new management team will make them a formidable opposition ahead of the championship.

"I think Cork are a huge threat going forward. I've been very impressed with the style of football they have been playing," Caffrey said.

"A new management has come in and has changed the emphasis in terms of their forward play.

"They're playing more akin to a Kerry footballing side than we've seen from Cork in the last five or six years."

Caffrey maintained that, despite not a lot of people giving Cork the credit they deserve, he fully expects their potent forward line to cause defences plenty of problems.

"I think the learned Dublin people would realise that Cork are the biggest threat to Dublin retaining their All-Ireland title and their league campaign this year.

"I think they're that good and, also, they haven't yet put out their first 15 yet. The likes of Paddy Kelly, Paul Kerrigan and Brian Hurley – these are class forwards. The game has changed now this year.

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"It does suit the team with the best forwards, which wasn't always the way. The new rules are going to really encourage teams with the best forwards to clock up big scores to win games and Cork can do that," he added.

Reflecting on the Dubs' league campaign to date, Caffrey is adamant they are in a much stronger position than many people think.

He pointed to the number of players who have been given game time as well as crediting Dublin with how well they've coped with the tag of being All-Ireland champions.

"With the series of injuries and suspensions, I'd say Jim Gavin has done remarkably well to get the results out of them that he has.

"I think if he had his championship starting 15 in the dressing-room in front of him, they'd have played.

"They're in the semi-final. It's been a topsy-turvy campaign but a lot of players have been blooded and have got game time.

"A year after winning an All-Ireland is always going to be very tough and I think Jim will have been quietly satisfied to have gotten out of Omagh over the weekend with a point victory.

"Jim Gavin has another game next weekend to get guys who are returning from injuries some important game time," Caffrey said.

Meanwhile, Mayo say Cillian O'Connor will be fit for next Sunday's Division 1 semi-final against Derry, despite coming off just nine minutes into their league meeting last weekend. "It's nothing major, just a small bit of a muscle spasm," manager James Horan said.

But he added that the big rematch will come too early for Alan Dillon and Chris Barrett

Galway's footballers managed to avoid the drop to Division 3 last weekend but it may have come at a cost.

Full-back Finian Hanley underwent scans yesterday for a serious shoulder injury that has made him doubtful for their Connacht championship opener against London on the last Sunday in May.

He was injured in the last quarter of their one-point loss to Monaghan in their final league game and will see a specialist today to calculate the severity of the injury.

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