Thursday 22 March 2018

O'Donoghue: 'We must sort out discipline problem'

DUBLIN selector Paddy O'Donoghue has admitted that the group need to rid themselves of recent ill-discipline or risk paying the consequences later this summer.

O'Donoghue was present at today's announcement of the team to play Armagh on Sunday - the third in succession in which Dublin have been hampered by suspension following Bryan Cullen's decision to accept the one-match ban handed down to him by the CCCC.

"The reality is, if fellas are stepping out of line, they do need to be punished," stated O'Donoghue bluntly, "because come the summer, there will much more attention from the media and the CCCC on those fouls.

"We're probably harping on to the lads a lot at the moment about it because it is happening too many times and it is becoming a pattern and we need to nip it in the bud.

"We have to look at it because the reality is that this never happened in any of the other years when the fitness levels are no higher."

He added: "There is probably more focus on us because we're All-Ireland champions and more of our games are televised."

After outlining three changes in personnel from the team which beat Laois a week ago - including the return to the starting ranks of Footballer of the Year, Alan Brogan - O'Donoghue insisted there is more to come from last weeks' Man of the Match, Eoghan O'Gara, who starts in an unchanged full-forward line alongside Diarmuid Connolly and Tomás Quinn.

"We know from the last two or three years what Eoghan is capable of," O'Donoghue offered.

"We've seen it in regular training where he's murdering fellas like Rory O'Carroll.

"All the lads are well aware that if Eoghan is on form and he can get the ball close to goal, you can forget about it. He's just too strong and fast to stop," added the Kilmacud Crokes' clubman and former Dublin senior.


"All the good forwards will perform - whether it's 'Gooch' Cooper or Jamie Clarke or whoever - they'll all do their stuff in Croke Park. That's just how we measure players - what they do during the summer."

On the subject of Sunday's opponents, O'Donoghue surmised: "Armagh are what they say on the tin. You know exactly what you're going to get. They're very strong in defence, they're totally committed all over the team and some of their scoring in the first couple of matches has been very stong as well."

"They had two tough games in Cork and Kerry.

"To be honest, most people would have felt they would have been lucky to come out with anything out of those games and they managed three points out of four so they're a good team."

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