Tuesday 18 December 2018

Mayo still Dubs' biggest threat, insists former star Goggins

Goggins: Expecting Mayo threat Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Goggins: Expecting Mayo threat Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Former Dublin star Coman Goggins believes Mayo are still the most likely team to halt the Dubs' dreams of four All-Ireland titles in a row despite the Connacht men's forgettable league campaign.

Mayo only secured survival in the top flight thanks to a last-gasp Kevin McLoughlin point on the final day that helped them secure a draw against Donegal in Ballybofey.

Dublin, on the other hand, secured yet more silverware with their fifth league title in six years by beating a resurgent Galway in the decider.

However, despite the progress made by the likes of the Tribesmen and the talent that is starting to emerge in Kerry, Goggins believes Mayo's record of consistently pushing Dublin close marks them out as the biggest danger to Jim Gavin's side as they go in search of a fourth All-Ireland title in five seasons.

"I'm not sure if Kerry's grouping has come a little bit too soon for them in that the young and the old might not just blend right for them this year," Goggins said.

"But I would see, in time, if they get that right they're going to be serious competitors in terms of All-Ireland titles.

"I would look back to Mayo and say they're the team that have challenged Dublin, consistently, since my time on and into every other time, around getting close and beating Dublin maybe more often than other teams have."

Goggins reckons that while Mayo were unimpressive in the league, their focus remains very much on championship.

"I know their league campaign wasn't overly spectacular, but I'm not sure how much focus is put into that league campaign given guys are in Dublin and everywhere else studying.

"So, I'd say with the full group together, guys back on the field, that they certainly have the mental strength maybe…

"They certainly believe in themselves that they're good enough to beat them. What it is that lets them down in the last few minutes, only they can put their finger on. But I certainly think they're probably the team that could get to Dublin if they get the opportunity."

After watching the Dubs beat Galway with 14 men when the game was on the line, Goggins believes that their greatest ability is to play until the final whistle.

"Do I think Dublin will be beaten? Your heart would say no and that it's great to see them… coming out of the league final, the only word you could use is phenomenal what they've achieved, because for so long I was part of teams where consistency was a huge issue for us.

"The consistency that they've demonstrated, through league and championship, is phenomenal really in terms of the effort.

"For somebody to beat that is going to require a huge effort for them to get over the line, given what Dublin have achieved and their commitment to play right to the last ball.

"I think that's where they've managed to see out games more often than not."

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