Saturday 24 February 2018

'Dublin could win this All-Ireland playing at 80 per cent, they don't have to be at full power'

Seán Cavanagh of Tyrone shakes hands with Philip McMahon
Seán Cavanagh of Tyrone shakes hands with Philip McMahon

Sean Cavanagh has sent an ominous warning to Mayo - Dublin can play at 80 per cent and still win Sunday's All Ireland final.

Cavanagh witnessed the Dubs' power and guile first hand when his Tyrone men were pummelled by 12 points in the All Ireland semi-final and he feels Jim Gavin's men will have too much for Mayo to cope.

"I felt we would win and I felt the system we had in place would be difficult for Dublin to break down," Cavanagh told RTÉ.

"On the day we just weren’t prepared for what they threw at us. Having seen the Dublin players in the flesh, you can only but admire their power and their physicality.

"The way Dublin are evolving they could easily win seven or eight All-Irelands out of the next ten."

Dublin's bench has long been a key weapon in their artillery and he praises Gavin for how he has managed to keep the competition for places so healthy.

"If you get a special group, most teams can maintain it for about to three to five years. When you go back to the start of this decade, Dublin had Rory O'Carroll, Bernard Brogan, Michael Daragh MacAuley, Ger Brennan and Diarmuid Connolly as the mainstays and now all of a sudden they have a new spine.

"Jim Gavin has done an incredible job in ensuring that guys remain at their peak and if they are not he will make the necessary changes.

You look at their bench now - Macauley, Brogan, McManamon sitting there - guys that have won multiple All-Irelands - guys that have been top players in our game scrambling for a few minutes here and there. It tells you a lot about what Jim Gavin and Dublin have been able to do."

For Cavanagh, who announced his inter-county retirement after the Dublin defeat, there is only one winner in Croke Park on Sunday.

"Dublin could win this All-Ireland playing at 80 percent, they don't have to be at full power."

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