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Sunday 4 December 2016

O'Leary enjoyed games away from Blue Smoke

AS Anthony Daly would say, "the Dubs are mad for road".

John O'Leary would agree. There's nothing quite like a trip to the country.

"I remember my first match as a Dublin fan was going to see the Dubs against Wexford in Carlow. It was a great thrill," reflects John.

"Going to these venues would benefit the team.

"There is a down side to playing all your matches in Croke Park.

"When you go to the likes of Tullamore and Portaoise, and you find yourself in a tough contest, that will stand to you later on.

"I never had a problem with Dublin playing away from home."

PROBLEM

John does have a problem with the way the Leinster Championship has gone.

"I played in 15 Leinster finals against different counties. There was always a challenge coming from somewhere."

Now, as a spectator, he is not only just interested in the result.

"When you have played for so long, you are interested in the contest. I enjoy the more challenging games. But some of the games are not contests anymore."

Asked if Kildare have a chance on Sunday, John responded: "Of course they have a chance.

"It's 15 fellas against 15. There's one ball and four posts."

Sometimes, he feels that Dublin's opponents are beaten before the throw-in.

"People are obsessed with Dublin. Counties talk too much about Dublin and not as much about themselves.

"There seems to be an in-built excuse before the game starts. People go on about Dublin's population, etc.

"But counties with small populations have had success in the past.

"You think of Leitrim, Clare and also Tipperary at minor and U21 level.

"Dublin just ploughs on and does what it does.

"Jim Gavin could go on for another five years if he wanted. He has great discipline about him. He's very single-minded. A lot of it comes from his working life."

Jim earned his stripes in the U21 ranks. "Continuity is a great way to build success. It's the right way to go.

"It's far better than trying this manager and that manager, and things don't work out."

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