herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Dubs are good but certainly not unbeatable

Dublin manager Jim Gavin. Picture Brendan Moran/Sportsfile.
Dublin manager Jim Gavin. Picture Brendan Moran/Sportsfile.

ANYBODY learn anything new about Dublin this time around?

A 16-point hammering of a provincial hopeful (it was 11 points when they played Laois in the quarter-final), 12 different scorers compared to 14 different scorers previously and another serious contribution from the bench.

The conversation has turned to how far ahead of the rest this Dublin team is and there is no doubt that at this stage in their journey they are the market leaders. But no team is unbeatable even if vulnerability usually comes as the journey nears its end.

I know a little about facing teams that are considered unbeatable. Though at a completely different level, my club team St Brigid's (Roscommon) had to face Crossmaglen (Armagh), then champions of Ireland for the previous two years and considered unstoppable as they headed for a three in-a-row of club titles.

What chinks do you look for in a team that appears to have none? What angle can you use to sell the idea of victory to your own team?

Facing Dublin is a daunting task but an old coach of mine used to talk about good luck being where good preparation met an opportunity.

Here are a few areas that the manager and his staff might consider:

* There always comes a day when the unbeatable are beatable - be ready.

* Always match pace with pace - identify the key runners in the opposition and mark them with athletic types.

* Spend the most time in your tactical 
build-up on match-ups.

* Paul Flynn's influence must be reduced to that of an observer.

* Dublin are not a physically imposing team - they are an athletically imposing team.

* Dublin are vulnerable to high ball, especially in their full-back line

* Dublin do not catch primary ball …. anywhere.

* Target midfield, especially Michael Darragh Macauley. This means Dublin and Stephen Cluxton must be forced to kick long and so a high aggressive line with supporting banks of two/three players must be utilised. If that is not possible then select a horses for courses midfield that does not need to be a 6' 4" pairing but a mobile pair of power runners.

* Have a strategy to negate the Dublin subs. There is now a real requirement to match up your own subs with Dublin's so that their impact is minimal. Kevin McManamon, Jack McCaffrey and friends must not be allowed to face tired markers. Fresh legs should match their introduction and plans for this must be made

Still think Dublin are unbeatable?

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