Friday 20 July 2018

Juggernaut just keeps on rolling to wards Sam

As the world knows, Croke Park has been at the centre of an unprecedented media storm for the last few weeks.

But yesterday afternoon it took just seventy minutes for the Dublin footballers to wipe the slate clean and return things to normal.

Garth who? There wasn't a sign of a pink stetson anywhere near Jones's Road.

Blue was the dominant colour, both on the pitch and off it, as Jim Gavin's men steam-rolled their Royal neighbours and left the pundits struggling to make a convincing case why they won't be claiming another All-Ireland title in September.

With a Leinster title at stake yesterday, many Dublin supporters had expected Meath to present a stern test. Like people who believe in voodoo, many on Hill 16 regard Meath as the game's equivalent of poltergeist footballers who have a spooky ability to shock.

But by the second half Meath looked like they were playing in a haunted house. Many in Meath jerseys disappeared for long periods leaving their teammates to chase blue shadows.

As Dublin cruised to victory by a whopping 2-10 margin and the strains of Molly Malone began to be heard, it seemed that the great auld icon herself might even get a run out. Almost everyone else on the Dublin subs bench did, in what began to resemble a training exercise or charity challenge match.

In the long-gone glory deals of Meath football, legendary Meath manager Sean Boylan was known to build up his players' confidence by reminding them that their opponents were mere mortals. "Sure, don't they eat the same potatoes as us," he'd say.


Yesterday Meath must have wondered who grows the spuds for Dublin. Clark Kent, maybe? Because Jim Gavin's men clearly dine on the diet of supermen.

Not that everyone in Meath expected a Royal win. Even Graham Geraghty, the last Meath captain to lift the Sam Maguire, admitted before the throw-in that he expected Dublin to make it four-in-a-row for the Delaney Cup. Yet not even he foresaw what turned into a Royal rout.

"We knew it was going to be a big game," explained Dublin's Paul Flynn afterwards. "We just put the foot down early."

On the way into the stadium, as one Meath supporter was overheard saying, "Meade's not playing", a wag remarked, "What? They've decided not to show up?" It was just that midfielder Brian Meade wasn't fit enough to start.

Despite the exhilaration of the county winning a ninth Leinster title in ten years, Dublin manager Jim Gavin appeared anxious to play down talk of another All-Ireland win. "We're going into the unknown now," he warned. "There are no guarantees."

As the Dubs juggernaut rolls on, most of the 62,660 who were in Croke Park might tell him otherwise.

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