Friday 20 April 2018

Dubs will have to walk the walk after summer stroll comes to an end

Dublin manager Jim Gavin
Dublin manager Jim Gavin Newdesk

Writing about the Dublin football team this year has been very hard work. When their big Championship games are over as a contest after 20 minutes, it is hard to keep concentrating.

At times like these I envy the late Con Houlihan, who in similar circumstances would fall back on some literary reflections that would occupy several paragraphs and readers would still maintain their interest. Alas I do not have such a luxury.

I suspect Jim Gavin also finds these Championship games laborious, but at least his one-sided victories are probably over for this year.

How good are Dublin? No more than Gavin, I do not know the answer to that. Yesterday's display against a brave, committed and happy set of Fermanagh players certainly raised some doubts about the overall performance level of Dublin, but when a game is never in doubt, from early on, the attitude of players inevitably changes.

The killer streak that is the trademark of champions can be dissipated in such circumstances and players tend to go through the motions and, if possible, avoid injuries.

Yet, the contrast between Dublin and Kerry yesterday was interesting as the latter went for the jugular with a vengeance and presumably because many players were fighting for their places for the All-Ireland semi-final.

Dublin on the other hand showed, at face value, some alarming tendencies of disrepair, especially in the final quarter. To concede 2-15 to a team just promoted from Division 3 is very significant for Dublin especially as, in the first half, Fermanagh missed at least half a dozen easy scoring chances as they tried to adjust to their unfamiliar surroundings.

Have Dublin really improved their backline after the debacle against Donegal last year?

Only scoring two goals was also a poor reflection on the Dublin attack, considering the gaps so often exposed in the Fermanagh backline, while the infallibility badge previously worn by Stephen Cluxton had the shine taken off it in this game too.

However, now that the Championship is returning to the real world from next Sunday on, Dublin will have no trouble getting back on the rails and remember they are still the bookies' favourites to win the All-Ireland.

Playing either Mayo or Donegal will be the ultimate test for Dublin and it may well be that the four games they have ambled through this summer will be just a faded memory in a short time.

Indo Sport

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