Lack of intensity cost Dubs against Down: Dias
PAT Gilroy has set a target for his Dublin team, according to Craig Dias -- to win two of their remaining three league matches in order to qualify for the semi-finals of the competition.
The Kilmacud Crokes man -- who has started each of Dublin's Division 1 matches since making his full debut against Kerry in February -- reckons "it's championship season now" as a result of the All-Ireland champions' loss in Newry last weekend.
In the context of the previous week's annihilation of Armagh in Croke Park, it was something of a surprise result.
But with the benefit of hindsight, Dias maintains: "The Down match had a bit to do with how we played against Armagh.
"I think it was just due to our intensity levels on the day," he outlined. "We didn't really go into the game that intense. Down just wiped us off the field." In mitigation, there was something of a second-half renaissance from Dublin, but Dias wasn't around to contribute, making way for Philly McMahon at half-time and does not start in Croker tomorrow.
"I wasn't happy (with his own performance)," he says in retrospect, "I'm not making excuses but ... they're hard-hitting and I just couldn't get into it.
"We went out on the field thinking we were okay, but once the whistle went, we couldn't get the intensity up.
"Against Armagh, I think the scoreline flattered us. We made a lot of mistakes in the Armagh match. We just have to rectify them for the next day.
"It's just communication. There was a time in the Armagh match when there was no communication at the end of the first half and that's when they got a good few scores.
"We gave away a lot of frees in the second half. It's getting our head around it when we're tired."
With Johnny Cooper added to the panel, and the likes of Cian O'Sullivan, Kevin Nolan back in the fray for tomorrow night and Paul Griffin set to resume full fitness, the competition for half-back sports is enormous as the summer appears on the horizon.
Half-backs are, he says, "two a penny" at the present moment in Pat Gilroy's squad, but he's slowly coming to grips with the nuances of the role. "He says if you see (an opportunity to attack) -- go," reveals Dias. "But he likes you to sit back and always have six back."
Which, by comparison to tomorrow's opponents, Donegal, in last year's All-Ireland semi-final, is quite scant cover.
That day, Dias was "sitting amongst the subs, scratching my head" but notes, "they're attacking more now, I think. But they do seem to have the same gameplan or at least the same set-up. They break more out of defence and they get a good few scores.
"The games don't seem to be as low scoring and tight. I think a lot more teams will be doing it this year so I think we have to come up with a gameplan to counteract that. It's successful. It's the only reason you do it. It's not pretty, but it works."