Tuesday 12 December 2017

There's still more to come from Dublin - McManamon

Kevin McManamon
Kevin McManamon
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

There are a dizzying amount of statistics that can underline Dublin's dominance in Leinster.

Take the unbackable odds they are quoted at for games in the province. Or the seemingly ever-growing average winning margin.

Wherever you look, it's hard to make an logical argument against the Dubs continuing to ride roughshod over the rest in the east.

And perhaps the most frightening thing for the rest of the province is Kevin McManamon's assertion that the best is yet to come.

"I'd say we're a long, long way from complete performances," said the St Jude's man after they had dismissed Kildare in their Leinster semi-final clash.

"I suppose a lot of things did go well for us but it could have been a different story if Kildare took more of their chances in the first half.

"It would have been a tighter game - that last goal before half-time really put the daylight between us.

"I would have felt they could have been a bit closer to us. There are a lot of standards we have that we didn't achieve on Sunday but at the end of the day we did perform in the upper echelons of our capabilities, so we were happy.

"But there's still a few things that we'd like to improve on."

Of course, such a one-sided start to the Championship has long been fingered as to why Dublin might come unstuck when August rolls around.

Like the Kilkenny hurlers, Dublin frequently cite their in-house matches as being key to tuning them up for the big games over the years.

And McManamon reckons those matches can hit similar intensity levels to the fixtures they played against the Lilies and Longford this year.

"They're always good games over the years. The years that we've done well, we've always looked back on the practice games as where we got the intensity so that then in Croke Park for a Championship game, it doesn't seem like too much further to go. It's not as big a leap in terms of intensity or attitude.

"Those (games) would be on par at times. A lot of the time it depends on how these games go. The Longford game particularly, the temperature went down a little bit, and I was off after 45 the last day. A lot of them, they would mirror it I suppose."

McManamon was replaced after 43 minutes against the Lilies, having failed to score.

On that evidence, his place could be under threat, but the starting 15 for Sunday's Leinster final clash with Westmeath will be decided on form in training.

"I remember saying last year after the Leinster final. . . I had a good game against Meath and I was saying there's a chance I won't play the quarter-final and people were laughing at me, but it's true," he recalled.

"You have to perform week in week out and I think that's the only way to pick a team.

"In fairness to Jim (Gavin), he says at the start of the year that's how I'm going to do it, that's how I'm going to pick the team, on form, and he has been consistent.

"I respect that, a lot of the players do, and it kind of adds that bit of pressure to perform on a Sunday morning when no-one's watching just as much as when there's 40,000 or 50,000 people watching."

McManamon is aiming for Leinster medal number five on Sunday. Dublin will try to fry much bigger fish this year, but the province still holds a charm for the Jude's attacker.

"It's a big thing for me to say that I've won four Leinster titles. We'll just keep going forward at it, to see how many we can get in our careers.

"I'm sure that would be something I'd look back on but I suppose the team is just going to be putting the tunnel vision on and just focusing on Westmeath and on getting on a win.

"It's kind of a cliche but we always would look at it as taking each game as it comes and I think that's important for us on the journey we're on, to really put the head down and focus on what's on front of us."

Irish Independent

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