Wednesday 26 October 2016

Paul Curran: Dublin's attacking prowess on a whole new level

Ciaran Kilkenny in action
Ciaran Kilkenny in action

An ultra-professional performance saw Dublin ease past a very average Kildare team and set up a provincial final against Westmeath who produced an incredible second half display to dump Meath into the qualifiers.

This Dublin team are an outstanding group of men, all terrific individual footballers who understand the importance of the group and they have a great opportunity to do what no Dublin team has done in the past.

The great team of the seventies managed three titles in that decade and are remembered in this county as one of the very best but for me they don't compare to the present team who continue to play the type of football that keeps us all interested to the end.

There are some who think that the football may be too attacking or in some cases naïve, but give me that style of football every day and every Sunday and Gaelic football's future would be very safe.

Dublin teams have always played an attacking brand of football but the present team is taking it to a different level and the quality of their play is something to admire. I don't think there is a better team in the country at the moment and it is hard to see any other team beating them at this stage.

That said yesterday's opposition will operate in the third their of the national league next season and were clearly out of their depth. Kildare are a middle of the road team who couldn't compete in Division Two this year so it is no surprise that they shipped a heavy defeat.

Dublin were always going to win this game and they managed to wrap the game up within the first quarter. In that time they managed to score a couple of three-pointers which gave them the platform to go and dominate the rest of the game.


Dean Rock got the ball rolling with a lovely finish after a very unselfish pass from his club mate Philly McMahon and then Bernard Brogan finished with a left-footed volley after a brilliant solo run from Jack McCaffrey.

With the early lead Dublin were able to cruise through the game without too much stress but they know that the real tests will begin on the August weekend and that is in no way being disrespectful to Westmeath.

It is hard to see the Westmeath defence coping with this Dublin attack but I am sure they will prepare for the game and try and come up with a system to limit the damage.

They need to bring a couple of blankets in a couple of weeks and hope that Dublin have an off day if they are to have any chance.

Yesterday they were brutal in the first half but somehow turned it around in the second period to turn the game on its head and secure a famous victory against their distinguished neighbours.

It was a sickening defeat for the Royals who somehow lost their way after a very impressive opening thirty-five minutes.

It may turn out to be a defining moment in their championship season and it would be no surprise if they limped out altogether in a couple of weeks' time.

That isn't a great scenario for Dublin who badly need healthier competition in Leinster and it looked like Meath would provide that over the coming years.

Yesterday's defeat is a massive setback for the Royals who need to regroup quickly is they are to get anything out of the season.

It will be difficult but if they can get over the next round they could still have a part to play in the last eight of the competition. Their first half performance will provide plenty of positives but they badly need a win the next day regardless of how they perform.

Meath teams in the past were known for their fighting spirit but the talent just isn't there at the moment and based on what we have seen over the last few years it might be a long time before we see them scaling heights again.

Dublin meanwhile are pressing ahead with ruthless efficiency and are performing at a level which is hard to match. The quality of their play is magnificent and it is going to take something special to stop them this year. Jim Gavin has a great group of players playing for each other and everyone is tuned into the type of game that he wants them to play. The game is based on moving the football at pace and the player in the best position gets the ball almost all of the time.

The fourth goal Dublin scored was a wonderful example of this with Dean Rock, Alan and Bernard Brogan involved in a really terrific score. It was a score which tells you all you need to know about this Dublin team and the playing philosophy that they adhere to.

The game was won but you still had individuals thinking about the team and that is a massive quality. It was a sublime finish to a wonderful move.

Dublin will be hard to beat in this mood but there is still a lot of football to be played and the small matter of Kerry to worry about down the road. Forget Donegal and Mayo and everyone else for that matter it is Kerry who pose the biggest danger.

They have the small matter of Cork to worry about next weekend but I do believe that Kerry are still the team to beat and they are a little too quiet for my liking.

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