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Thursday 21 November 2019

Our team of greats from Tyrone in their pomp and the Dubs

Jim Gavin
Jim Gavin

Here's one of those barstool questions that you'd love to see answered on the Croke Park pitch. How many of the Tyrone team of the noughties, the winner of three All-Irelands in six seasons, would get on the Dublin team?

This cropped up in conversation this week with former Dublin boss Paul Caffrey, who framed it slightly differently, focussing on Tyrone (circa 2003-08) and the first incarnation of Jim Gavin's Sky Blues (2013-15) when Diarmuid Connolly, Paul Flynn and Bernard Brogan were in their pomp.

"It would be a very interesting scenario to lay out the teams on paper and mark the players - how many players would get into either team?" Caffrey wondered aloud.

The Herald has duly picked that team. You may wonder about certain omissions (Brian Fenton, Jonny Cooper) but the yardstick was Gavin's first three years - Fenton would be a shoo-in except he only arrived in 2015.

"That Tyrone team, in my eyes, proved to be one of the great All-Ireland winning squads. And I certainly think it would be a fascinating insight to examine the two teams," said Caffrey.

"When you have Flynn, Bernard Brogan and Connolly at their best … they were three forwards that we'd be talking about getting into any All-Ireland team of any era.

"Whereas you're looking at a half-forward line now of Howard and Kilkenny and Scully ... they're still early in their careers, there's a good bit left.

"Mapping it out," he ventured, "Brogan, Flynn and Connolly at their best would get into the all-time great Dublin team."

Caffrey cited the age profile of Dublin's current attack as proof of Gavin's genius.

"Jim isn't getting half enough credit for the job he's diing. The subtlety of the changes he has rolled out over the last two seasons - it's nearly a brand new forward line."

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