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Tuesday 16 October 2018

Jim comes knocking on Evan's door but Dubs will need Cluxton back

Evan Comerford of Dublin during the Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Dublin and Longford at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Evan Comerford of Dublin during the Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Dublin and Longford at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Dublin booked their place in the provincial final after accounting for Longford with the minimum of fuss yesterday. It was another very comfortable provincial win, which has become almost routine at this stage.

Longford, to be fair to them, came to play and started quiet well. But this Dublin team are incredible at breaking you down and have so many scoring options that it's almost impossible to keep them out.

The first seven points were scored by seven different players and all came from play. That's an extraordinary fact in itself.

All of the scores were very well worked and the unselfish nature of the players is something that has made them a really great team.

The other thing which separates them from most other teams is the work-rate from the forwards.

Paul Mannion, in particular, is an expert at stripping possession from an opponent and his goal was all his own work.

That goal in the 24th minute put Dublin eleven points up and with Longford down to 14 players, it was always going to be one way traffic after that.

The sending off didn't have much of a bearing on the overall result but when playing this Dublin team you need to have the full complement for the entire game.

Dangerous

I don't think James McGivney can have any complaints after a very dangerous and late tackle on Stephen Cluxton. It left the Dublin goalkeeper injured and he was ultimately replaced shortly after.

The one positive to come out of that incident was that Evan Comerford made his championship debut and he looked assured and confident in everything he did.

Dublin will, however, need Stephen back in goals for the business end of the championship.

I thought at times Dublin looked average enough in the second half and tried one pass too many in their pursuit of more goals.

They will need to be more clinical in front of goal, particularly when they come up against the likes of Kerry, Galway or Mayo in the coming months.

It was great to see Jack McCaffrey and Cian O'Sullivan making their return to the team after injury and they looked fit and very hungry as they try and nail down starting places for the Leinster Final.

There will be tougher days ahead, starting against Laois, and they will need to be a lot better. But it is hard to see them getting a serious test until the Super 8s begin.

The squad games over the coming weeks would be worth paying in to see and with serious competition within the squad, it ensures that every member will be at their peak come match day.

Laois are next up in a couple of weeks and they will need to bring something very special to Croke Park if they are to get any change from that game. It is hard to see anything other than a Dublin victory but if Laois set up properly and get their forward line working, they might get close.

On a different note, last Saturday, June 9, seven teams crashed out of the 2018 championship after just two games and will not play championship football again for 11 months. How can anyone take football seriously if all they get it two serious games every season?

This needs to be looked at and maybe the hurling model is the one to follow, where teams are in groups which would guarantee at least three or four championship games every year.

While we wait for the Football Championship to spark into life, we have been treated to some wonderful hurling over the last three weekends. The skill levels are extraordinary and most of the games have been edge-of- the-seat exciting.

Hurling is as manly a game as you can get and the players deserve special mention for the entertainment served up so far and long may it continue. I've been converted.

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