Ray Cosgrove: Cormac Costello omission a real 'surpise'
WHERE last year, Ger Brennan's stock rose meteorically with each untouched Donegal surge through the stomach of he Dublin defence, Eoghan O'Gara has suddenly become the most useful forward Jim Gavin doesn't have.
"The biggest loss of the lot of them is Eoghan," says former Dublin forward Ray Cosgrove, broadly in agreement with that particular sentiment.
"And I know people have been critical of Eoghan in the past being one-dimensional.
"But he was an 'out'. He was a big target man on the edge of the square and he won more than his fair share of ball and he caused trouble for full-backs."
"And when he's not around, that's when you really miss him."
Given their diminishing attacking options, Cormac Costello's slip down the rankings seems even more curious.
Deemed good enough to start against Donegal in last year's All-Ireland semi-final, Costello wasn't even part of Gavin's match day 26 last Sunday.
"I was a bit surprised when I looked at the programme and I didn't see Cormac's name there," Cosgrove admits.
"The impact that he's had in the last couple of years … ok, he wouldn't be as physically strong as some other guys like Eoghan O'Gara.
"But he has two good feet and he's direct. When he does have it, he goes straight at goal. And I was really surprised that he wasn't in the match day 26, to be honest."
"When you're looking for a score, particularly when the game has opened up, he's the man to get it."
Similarly, Cosgrove is puzzled about the lack of exposure Conor McHugh has been given to senior inter-county football,
"I'm surprised at Conor. I'm surprised that he hasn't broken through, given how prolific he's been with Na Fianna and how good he was with the under-21s over the last couple of years.
"When you see the likes of Davy Byrne (Nh Olaf) and Eric Lowndes filter through and Shane Carthy and Emmett Ó Conghaile as well, I'd question how he hasn't gotten through.
"Jim and the lads would see him all the time. But it wouldn't make sense to me that he hasn't been able to break through at this stage."
So, is improvement or variation more necessary for Dublin to come through tomorrow?
"Kevin (McManamon) is having such an impact coming in," Cosgorve reckons, "I would leave him there. I'd say to Alan (Brogan), 'go, give me everything you've got. Give me 40 or 50 minutes. Empty the tank'.
"Having been there and done that, he'd be a great cool head to start the game and do the smart things with the ball.
"But they have to be better. I definitely think they have to improve. I have to say I wasn't overly impressed. In fairness, Paul Flynn has been so instrumental over the last few years but he's not doing enough on the scoreboard at the moment.
"I think Paul would agree. He's got to get scores."