Tuesday 24 April 2018

Pat Spillane: For whatever reason, there is a vulnerability about Dublin on big final days in Croke Park

17 September 2017; Aidan O'Shea of Mayo in action against James McCarthy of Dublin during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Dublin and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
17 September 2017; Aidan O'Shea of Mayo in action against James McCarthy of Dublin during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Dublin and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Pat Spillane has hailed Dublin as one of the three best GAA outfits he has ever seen - but thinks they have a 'vulnerability' when they play in national finals.

Spillane ranks Jim Gavin's team alongside his Kerry crop and Brian Cody's Kilkenny as the best ever but added that there are one or two rays of hope for rivals ahead of the 2018 championship.

Dubin are heavy favourites to complete an All-Ireland four in-a-row after winning another league title this spring, vanquishing a coming Galway side in the final at Croke Park last Sunday.

However, despite seemingly pulling further away from the chasing pack, Spillane has voiced a word of caution.

Writing in his Sunday World column today, the Kerry legend says Dublin have 'vulnerability' in finals, having not trounced an opponent in a September decider in a manner which was customary for the Kingdom during Mick O'Dwyer's time in charge.

"There is no doubt that if you can bully Dublin, get at them physically and run at their defence, they can be rattled," he said.

"And I believe their fullback line is vulnerable to aerial bombardment.

"For whatever reason, there is a vulnerability about them on big days in Croke Park. Look at their record in their last five national finals: two one-point wins, one draw and one loss by a point and they were slightly flattered by last Sunday's four-point victory.

"Essentially, in the big matches they are not pulling away from their opponents."

Read Pat Spillane's full column in The Sunday World.

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