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Sunday 4 December 2016

'If any team goes for a shootout with Dublin, they'll get beaten': McEnaney

Seamus McEnaney
Seamus McEnaney

WHATEVER it was that Monaghan learned in Clones last weekend, they at least have an immediate chance to put into practice in Croke Park this Sunday.

"The big thing for me was the turnovers," says former Farney County and Meath manager, Seamus 'Banty' McEnaney. "When Monaghan came into the danger area, they (Dublin) turned them over unbelievably.

"It wasn't really about Monaghan or bad handling. It was just about pure power. They were so strong in the tackle and had bodies behind the ball.

"The physique of the Dublin team is absolutely incredible - Paul Flynn, Diarmuid Connolly, Rory O'Carroll, Tomás Brady… unbelievable.

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"The reality is, if any team goes for a shootout with Dublin, they're going to get beaten - including Kerry."

"Monaghan were on the back foot for the entire hour with Jack McCaffrey.

"But whereas last year, they were leaving gaps behind them when he or someone else was going forward, now they're not. They're covering for those boys when they go forward."

Yet twice now in the past year, Monaghan have attempted to shut Dublin out and twice, Jim Gavin's team have managed to score goals, hit the front and then pick the Farney men off when their need for scores outranked their predisposition to sit tight.

"There is no doubt in my mind that that is exactly what they will do; try and stifle Dublin," says McEnaney, who insists that Cavan in the Ulster Championship on May 24 will have been the only fixture on the agenda at Monaghan's training camp in Portugal.

"The other thing that I think that Monaghan need to do - and if Dublin have a small weakness, it's this - Monaghan need to play Kieran Hughes alongside Conor McManus in the full-forward line and put in long, early ball.

"Because if Dublin have a weakness it may be in he air in the full-back line. That's the only hope they have of getting at them. They certainly will make it difficult for Dublin if they leave those two men up and put in early ball.

"And stifle them with at least 10 or maybe 11 defenders.

"But," McEnaney concludes, "I'd still try and win the game by playing with four forwards."

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