Monday 18 December 2017

Farce in the Páirc reopens Sam race

A COUPLE of weeks back - under the headline 'League win a perverse portent of Dubs doom?' - we speculated on the possibility of Jim Gavin's all-conquering footballers falling prey to the same ailment that had nobbled several of Dublin's fellow league high-flyers.

We were writing partly in jest. Now we're not so sure, and it's got nothing to do with Dublin.

Cork were disgracefully bad on Sunday. There is no other way to describe their meek surrender to the old Kerry enemy; no point in pussy-footing around their non-existent marking in defence or their tactical naivety in doing so little to close off those inviting gaps in front of James O'Donoghue and his partners-in-pillage.

Remember, the Rebels' ramshackle farewell to the old Páirc came hot on the heels of another torrid outing at home to Tipperary, when inglorious defeat was only avoided via Aidan Walsh's late, late heroics.

And it followed the last half-hour of the league semi-final, when Dublin's spectacular 17-point turnaround couldn't hide the poverty of Leeside leadership.

After Sunday, there must be serious question marks about Cork's capacity for Sam Maguire resurrection. League finalists Derry have long departed; semi-finalists Mayo stumbled into next Sunday's Connacht final. At this stage perhaps Dublin should be more worried by Kerry, Donegal, Monaghan ... oh, and don't forget Meath!

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