Sunday 22 September 2019

Paul Curran: 'Sean Bugler's season sums up Dublin's phenomenal conveyor belt'

Seán Bugler made his debut for Dublin in the Super 8s against Tyrone. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Seán Bugler made his debut for Dublin in the Super 8s against Tyrone. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Paul Curran

Dublin have the ability to keep winning games because of their incredible self-confidence, game management skills and the ability to find a winning result no matter what their opponents throw at them.

It was interesting to watch the semi-final performance against Mayo and the way they were able to absorb everything that was thrown at them in a frantic first half. Mayo came to attack, like they always do and Dublin seemed to be in a spot of bother.

At the break Mayo were up by a couple of points but they had expended an extraordinary amount of energy while Dublin seemed to be in containment mode. Very few Dublin players would have been happy with their game but they wouldn’t have been too worried about being just a couple of points down.

One felt that Dublin would come out after the break with purpose and an energy that was missing and within twelve minutes the game was done and dusted. It was both emphatic and brutal and the Mayo players must have wondered what had happened.

In past meetings this decade the Mayo players and management would have been forgiven for thinking that they were hard done after some agonisingly close games but this was very different.

This was Dublin at their very best and the frightening aspect is that they only needed to be that good for just under twelve minutes to totally dismantle the Mayo challenge. A twelve minute race between a Ferrari and a Morris Minor.

No matter what they face they find a way. When they are below average they don’t lose too much ground on the scoreboard which Dublin teams of the past might have done. We are dealing with a very intelligent group of players who have decided to give their chosen sport everything it deserves and because of this they are reaping the rewards.

It is now nine seasons since the breakthrough win against Kerry in 2011 and apart from a couple of blips. every All-Ireland has been won since then. The county had gone sixteen years without even getting to All-Ireland final so what we are witnessing in this decade is almost unbelievable.

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It sounds simplistic but the winning mentality comes down to a new culture which was introduced under Pat Gilroy and taken to another level by Jim Gavin. It is a culture that demands total honesty and respect for one another both on and off the field.

The commitment to personal fitness is also something that separates them from every other team and the young players who are brought into the squad need to be at the very high entry level before being considered.

That creates massive competition which keeps driving everything forward. Sean Bugler, a brilliant young player, was given his championship wings against Tyrone in the last game of the Super 8’s and turned in a man of the match performance, but didn’t manage to get a single minute in the All-Ireland semi.

He is just one example of the talent that is waiting for the opportunity to pull on the famous blue jersey at a time when the county is seeing unprecedented success. It is a glorious cycle and great viewing if you happen to be a supporter.

I think there are also plenty of admirers around the country because the game they play in general is mostly on the front foot, an exciting brand of attacking football. Their humility despite all the medals is hard to dislike.

It will be business as usual for the group over the coming weeks and their experience of All-Ireland final days will surely stand to them come match day. It is going to be an extraordinary occasion on Sunday week and undoubtedly a game that people will be talking about for years to come.

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