Sunday 17 December 2017

This Mayo team a lot like my Dublin side of the '90s - Dr O'Neill

Dr Pat O’Neill. Photo: Sportsfile
Dr Pat O’Neill. Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

These days Dublin are chasing a fourth All-Ireland title in six years, but there was a time when they were desperate to win just once.

Dr Pat O'Neill remembers the early '90s. Back then the landscape for Dublin was very different.

They won in 1983 but lost finals in both of the next two years as well as in '92 and '94. By the time '95 rolled around they were desperate and O'Neill sees similarities between the Dublin team he managed and the current Mayo squad who have also been knocking on the door for some time.

"Yes, there is an element of that and that team did eventually get over the line, probably in the worst All-Ireland that it played in," he said.

"It had played better in ones that it had lost."

O'Neill eventually guided Dublin to Sam Maguire in '95 but he revealed that after suffering another final defeat in '94, there was work to be done on the players in other to get them to come back for another shot.

"It does take that little bit extra bit of physical and psychological work to try and convince them of that. And, of course, frustration sets in, and if frustration sets in then you get disciplinary issues coming into it, both within the team and then in the deliverance of the game.

"Reflecting back all those years ago, we had those as well but they're understandable."

O'Neill reckons the current side will surpass the team he played on in the '70s should they win this weekend given their dominance of the football landscape in previous years.

"I don't think it makes any difference to either of them," he said.

"It is a comment that comes up for discussion and there's always these comparisons with eras. Games are different and the team is of its era really. But this team has achieved and I know having been part of the '70s team that they certainly have performed equally.

"Whether they're going to be considered a greater team is going to hinge on their performance in winning this one now really. They're probably equated at this stage so going forward it'll depend on them."

Irish Independent

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