Dubs will be 'pushed to pin of collar' in bid to retain Sam – Cavanagh
Tyrone star Sean Cavanagh has warned that Dublin will be sorely tested in the championship this year, despite being installed as clear favourites to retain their All-Ireland title.
The Moy powerhouse, a three-time All-Ireland winner, acknowledged that Jim Gavin's side are the form team in the country as they retained their league title in style, but insisted they will be pushed to "the pin of their collar" before the year is out.
"At some stage along the line this year they're going to come up against a team that's going to put them to the pin of their collar and it's only at that stage – first game, second game, fifth game – when they find out if they've that wee bit more oxygen left in the tank that's going to push them over the line," said the former Football of the Year.
"There'll certainly be a time when that will happen, from my experience and other teams' experience – because it's so hard to win back-to-back titles.
"They deserve all they get because they've been brilliant, but, at the same time, they will come up against hard times."
Cavanagh has bitter experience of trying to defend Sam Maguire as he saw three attempts in 2004, '06 and '09 fall by the wayside.
"I've been through it down through the years and I've seen ourselves as All-Ireland champions back in '04 beating Derry by 15 or 18 points or something like that and being told at that stage we were All-Ireland champions elect," he said.
"And Donegal came out the next game and ripped us up by five or six points.
"I know it's not easy and you have to give Dublin credit the way they're playing football, which is fantastic for the game and all that, but it's going to be tough for them."