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Knockout format wouldn't make Dubs vulnerable - they can win any way they want

Donnchadh Boyle



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Dublin players from left, John Small, Brian Fenton and Ciarán Kilkenny celebrate their All-Ireland SFC final replay win over Kerry last September. Photo: Sportsfile

Dublin players from left, John Small, Brian Fenton and Ciarán Kilkenny celebrate their All-Ireland SFC final replay win over Kerry last September. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Dublin manager Dessie Farrell. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Dublin manager Dessie Farrell. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

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Dublin players from left, John Small, Brian Fenton and Ciarán Kilkenny celebrate their All-Ireland SFC final replay win over Kerry last September. Photo: Sportsfile

It says something about the extent to which the Dublin footballers have loomed over the football landscape that when talk about revamped championship formats begins, it quickly evolves into how any changes may or may not suit the history-making Dubs. But then market leaders have a way of dominating the landscape in such ways.

The point has been well-made this week. Whenever the action does resume, circumstances will mean that Dessie Farrell will be the least-prepared manager of a team defending an All-Ireland title in the history of the game.

And even before the Covid-19 pandemic, Farrell was behind the curve. Relatively speaking, he was appointed late in the day after Jim Gavin's resignation. And he was stepping into what is at once the most appealing and the most difficult job in football where he had the best set of players in the country to work with but also one where only winning an All-Ireland for a sixth successive time could be deemed a success.