Macauley: I fancy Ballymun for title but they must halt Vins' deadly duo
MICHAEL Darragh Macauley has tipped Ballymun Kickhams, albeit with the tentative approval of someone who has witnessed St Vincent's charm close up, for Sunday's Dublin SFC final in Parnell Park.
"I think it's going to be very close," the Footballer of the Year nominee told the Herald, having fallen sharply to Sunday's Vin's in last Monday night's Donnycarney double-header.
"I think Ballymun might edge it. I know both teams have won it before, but Ballymun know how to win from last year and I think it's going to be close. But then again, if Mossy Quinn and Dermo (Connolly) are in the same sort of form they were in against us, they're going to be tough to stop."
That last sentence carries the knowing warning of a man who has suffered very recently and quite painfully at the aforementioned pair's menace.
Between them, Tomás Quinn and Diarmuid Connolly scored 2-6 of Vins' 4-12 on Monday night as Macauley and his 'Boden team were ousted, but even that material return doesn't do justice to their intuitive, creative and ambitious interplay.
"I suppose they've been playing together for so long," Macauley considers.
"They've been doing it for club and county for so long at this stage. They're hard to shut down. We found both very hard to get a hold of. We never did at any stage.
"It's tough. I hadn't seen Mossy – I obviously know how Dermo is going from training – but I hadn't seen Mossy this year and he was flying it. He blew us away. They're going to be a tough animal to tame on Sunday."
For all that and the honest admission that "the best two teams are competing on Sunday", Macauley admits 'Boden "got a bit of a swagger going" after beating both Kilmacud Crokes and St Brigid's in their previous two Championship matches.
"I think there was definitely a Championship there for the taking," he concedes. "There's no juggernaut of Dublin football at the moment. Realistically, there are four or five teams easily that can go out and win that Championship.
"So it would have been nice. Even to be in the final ... there is something special about playing in a club final. I only did it once (in 2009), but it was very special. Obviously, all the area gets behind you and there is a great buzz around the place.
"So even making a final would have been another step, but losing a semi is very tough. It's the same with Dublin. Ah, it wasn't nice, but we were beaten by a better team."
Suffice to say, Ballymun are being propelled by their St Patrick's Day let-down, an All-Ireland club final defeat to St Brigid's of Roscommon which no doubt lurks somewhere dark, but prominent, in their collective psyche.
"I suppose if they had won the whole lot, it might have been tougher to come back again," Macauley reckons.
"I suppose what they have now is a stone that is probably left unturned that they want to turn over.
"They came so close last year. And I'm sure that's where their sights are. They'll start off with the Dublin Championship, but they will focus on getting back to Paddy's Day.
"The Dublin teams have done so well in the All-Ireland series over the last few years that it bodes well for the state of Dublin football," Macauley concludes. "Hopefully whoever wins on Sunday can go on and do us proud in the All-Ireland club Championship again."