Wednesday 25 April 2018

Dubs' sights set on unbeaten season – Flynn

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

IT'S only a few years ago that the sight of a Dublin team demolishing opponents was viewed with suspicion.

Paul 'Pillar' Caffrey's Dubs routinely dished out hammerings to all comers in Leinster, only to be found out in August.

It's still only the league stages of Jim Gavin's first campaign as manager, but Dublin have posted some similarly eye-catching results in recent weeks.

But with a team full of All-Ireland winners at senior, U-21 and minor level and a 13-point hammering of an in-form Kildare behind them, there's nothing to suggest that this Dublin outfit suffer from the same frailties.

Gavin has used 30 players so far – and that's before the return of the seven Ballymun stars due to join the county squad after Sunday's club final. Furthermore, 2011 Footballer of the Year Alan Brogan is edging his way back to fitness.

With the only 100pc record in Divison 1, Dublin are clear favourites to win their first league title in 20 years – and perhaps, go unbeaten through the competition.

"If we did (go unbeaten) it would be the most difficult year to do it, because the top eight teams are in Division 1 this year," says back-to-back All Star Paul Flynn.

"You have to take each game as it comes but it would be nice to win every game. Regardless of the competition, we try and win every game, that's the way we are bred as footballers so hopefully we can do that."

Dublin have made their way to the summit of the table in some style.

They boast the best defensive record in the top flight and find themselves 18 points better off in the 'scores for' column than their nearest rivals as they have flourished under a more open game plan this year.

"I suppose we're trying to play a little bit more of an attacking style of football," agrees Skins ambassador Flynn.

"We're getting good scores, but we need to be a bit tighter in defence because we let in two sloppy goals against Kildare on Sunday and we need to eradicate that.

"We lost a lot of brilliant players through retirement but the young players who have come in have been a breath of fresh air around the place, training hard and pushing us all to the pin of our collar.

"It's absolutely brilliant to have them there. It's not as if they're coming in on the fringes – the boys have come in in pivotal roles, in pivotal positions on the field.

"It's quite competitive at the moment and the lads who have the jerseys know that if they don't perform, they are going to lose it."

On Saturday night, the Dubs renew their rivalry with Tyrone. Seven years have passed since the infamous 'Battle of Omagh' and five since Tyrone dismantled Caffrey's Dublin in Croke Park in the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

The personnel have changed greatly on both sides and Flynn, as one of the more senior members of the panel, believes the recent results between the sides will only have a limited influence.

"Tyrone are at the stage now when they're rebuilding and making a new team," he said.

"I watched their win over Donegal on TV and I was really impressed by them.

"I didn't see them at all last week against Cork but they're obviously going to be mad for action on Saturday night.

"I've only fond memories (of playing Tyrone) really. I was in the squad in '08, I played in the Leinster final but I didn't play in that game against Tyrone.

"The squad has changed so much since then, though. There's so many lads that are in now that wouldn't have memories of those games.

"It's a new game and a new team so we have to go to it like that."

Irish Independent

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