Tuesday 16 July 2019

Talk of Dublin's advantages will only motivate Gavin's men - Senan Connell

Connell: "I’d say it hurts a little bit because it’s diluting what they have achieved." Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Former Dublin star Senan Connell believes the debate that rages around Dublin football and the advantages they enjoy will only add fuel to the fire as Jim Gavin's men go in search of a fifth All-Ireland title in a row.

Issues from the way the county are funded compared to the rest of the county, population and financial advantages as well as the amount of money a Dublin footballer can command for an endorsement compared to other counties have all popped up in recent weeks as the Dubs continue their drive towards history.

And Connell believes that commentary will only serve as motivation for Jim Gavin's side.

"I'd say it hurts a little bit because it's diluting what they have achieved," he said.

"And I know if I was in that changing room that would hurt a bit that no one appreciates (their feats) because everyone is putting it down as - well not everyone - but people on the outside putting it down to numbers and demographics and all that.

"So I'd say it hurts and will drive them on even more. It will probably drive Jim on even more to create the dynasty until there is change."

Barring a massive upset, Dublin are set to win an ninth Leinster title in a row on Sunday and with no sign of their dominance in the province abating, Connell admits the GAA's top brass might soon "look at Dublin" though he's not convinced that is the best way forward.

"We are hurtling towards change in the provincial championship, we know that and then I suppose the next step is probably looking at Dublin," he offered.

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"As a player who played with Dublin, we could've said in the noughties we were getting the most money, probably the biggest sponsorship and we still weren't competing with the Tyrones and Kerrys at the top level.

"We were getting everything, when Tommy Lyons was in charge we were very well looked after because he was good at that type of stuff but we weren't able to get to that level.

"What they have now, I suppose, and this is where its going to be hard for everyone else to catch up on, the development over the last 20 years hasn't just been tactically and technically, it's the mental resolve players have now. By the time they get to senior level they are stepping into the senior set-up where they have won underage.

Doubt "Flip back 20 years, when I went senior I hadn't won anything underage so there is always that little bit of mental doubt in your brain there - could you beat a Kerry or a Tyrone but the players now that step in expect to win every game and that comes from investment and population and numbers and getting the best players and only having to maybe harness two players off every team because of population and dynamics.

"I'm not going to give you an answer here now, when I was playing it was (Dublin) split into two that came up in dispatches, now we are talking about splitting in four. Something will be looked at. But whether that is the answer I don't know."

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