Michael Verney: 'Dubs display their array of tricks on way to greatness'
Football used to be a simple game revolving around the basic principles of catching and kicking but Dublin have taken it to a completely different level by innovating and employing strategies from other sports in a way few could have ever envisaged.
The completion of five in a row is testament to their ability to continuously adapt and at no stage in Jim Gavin's reign have they allowed themselves to become in any way predictable, as evidenced last Saturday night.
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Every game starts with a throw-in but no team has thought forensically about what that entails and the opportunities it presents. The Dubs won three of the four throw-ins over the two games yielding a return of 1-2 from such a simple facet of the game.
Eoin Murchan's stunning goal nine seconds into the second half is a perfect example. On the face of it, he collects the breaking ball and bursts through Kerry's defence before firing to the net but there are so many other subtle things being done by those around him to allow that to happen.
Gavin spoke after about his satisfaction that a pre-rehearsed move had bore fruit and these things don't happen by accident, it's as a result of creative thinking and an insatiable thirst to master one's craft.
When Stephen Cluxton began working with Gary Matthews in 2006, the idea of a short kick-out was an alien concept in football but the Dublin goalkeeper has revolutionised the game with his ability to retain possession from restarts.
While Kerry got some joy in the drawn game and mildly ruffled his feathers with their aggressive 4-4-4 kick-out press - a basketball term unheard of in GAA terms until the Dubs refined it - his ability to arrow long deliveries over the top yielded 1-2 and forced them to abandon that tactic the second time around.
With no Plan B in place, Dublin were gifted possession 23 out of the 25 times from which Cluxton put the ball down and it allowed them to dictate affairs and play the game on their own terms. They essentially played basketball without the shot clock.
Therein lies another tactical evolution. With teams dropping players back defending the 'D' and trying to limit the likes of Con O'Callaghan and Paul Mannion, Dublin can be patient in their build-up and hold possession until the gap arises. There is never any need for panic and their street smarts are unparalleled. With three minutes of first-half injury-time played and a free won 65 metres out from Kerry's goal, Mick Fitzsimons makes the sign of an 'X' over his head to his forward line.
He makes a similar gesture to Brian Fenton before he kicks the free, signalling that time is up and a risk-free chance to get a score with no time for a counter-attack is on as Fenton launches the ball to the square.
No score comes from it and ten seconds later they are jogging in at half-time, nothing ventured nothing gained but always thinking differently. The Kerry response to Murchan's goal was emphatic and when Seán O'Shea pointed at 44:30, they only trailed by one, 1-11 to 0-13.
Only two points would follow in the closing 32 minutes, however, and while there are no possession charts available to show who held the ball and for how long, the Dubs virtually owned the O'Neills and sucked the energy and resolve out of Kerry.
The ball was recycled for nearly three minutes before Mannion's 51st-minute point, while Cluxton smothered Stephen O'Brien's goal attempt three minutes later with a save which Gavin described as "the result of hundreds of hours" of hard graft.
A minute later Jonny Cooper - relieved of man-marking duties on David Clifford and allowed to bomb forward at every opportunity - puts his hand up in possession to signal another move from a playbook more akin with American football.
He solos down the Hogan Stand side and passes to Mannion, who is afforded the space to shoot after James McCarthy screens (another basketball term) his marker. None of this is a coincidence, it has been brilliantly coached.
A significant Dublin lead would never be pegged back and they regularly played 'keep ball' en route to rewriting history. One of the best compliments that they can be paid is that they continue to make a simple game so difficult for others. The chess pieces will change but the Dublin juggernaut rolls on.