Wednesday 17 July 2019

'You won't see Dean Rock in the full back line or Con O'Callaghan marshaling the defence' - Joe Brolly

Dean Rock and (inset) Joe Brolly
Dean Rock and (inset) Joe Brolly

They can boast all the talent in the world but Dublin would be playing catch up only for their style of play, according to Joe Brolly.

We have become accustomed to the rampant Blues kicking points for fun on the hallowed turf of Croke Park, but it's their willingness to attack and their sublime movement which makes them tick says Brolly.

And, speaking on's GAA Podcast The Throw In in association with Allianz, Brolly added that the Dubs would not be All Ireland champions if they adopted defensive tactics.

"Dublin have a big advantage. Teams like Donegal are now starting to resume the business of playing football and they are coming from way way back when you compare them to teams like Dublin or Mayo who have continued to play football through thick and thin," said Sunday Independent columnist Brolly.

"Other teams have been rehearsing endlessly the blanket defence, Tyrone in particular who play an ultra robotic style of football where everything is prescribed. They mark out positions on the pitch where the players have to retreat to whenever they lose possession and it is very very regimented.

"So while that's been happening, Dublin have been experimenting on attacking football and you can see that the way they make their runs, the way they make their runs in rotation.

"Their understanding of space and movement. They move the ball to the danger zones so well, better than anyone else. In fact Mayo are very very good at this as well. Their forwards just aren't as good all around as Dublin's."

Talk of splitting Dublin in two and reducing their financial assistance from Croke Park are often talking points in the media, but Brolly says the secret to their successis down to hard work - as well as the obvious asset of exceptional footballers. 

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"A lot of thought has been put in to how we release are most dangerous men and where they are most dangerous. You can see that a huge amount of work has been done by Dublin on movement.

"They just bewildered Kildare and showed what we know them to be, a truly superb gaelic football team and so easy on the eye, so many weapons and so much enthusiasm for the game which again stems from the style of play and also, of course, they do happen to have some very very exceptional gaelic footballers.

"But none of that would matter if they were labouring in a blanket defence system. Dean Rock would be back in the full back line helping out. You would have Con O'Callaghan marshaling the centre of defence pointing left and right the way we have seen Michael Murphy doing over the years.

"The thing about the Dubs, and Mayo, is that you will never see them in this situation which has become a common feature of gaelic football over the last seven or eight years - a team playing in a defensive style who are five or six points behind, who are unable to change tactics and go and chase the game, who are just labouring to an inevitable defeat."

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