Saturday 19 January 2019

Record broken as Dubs put on a show

Dublin 2-29 Roscommon 0-14
Paul Flynn was back to his blistering best for Dublin as they set a new record at Croke Park.
Photo: Sportsfile
Paul Flynn was back to his blistering best for Dublin as they set a new record at Croke Park. Photo: Sportsfile

So there it is.

Dublin go 35 matches unbeaten in league and championship, surpassing the record set by the Kerry team of 1933, cruising past the milestone no-one was particularly aware of until the Dubs began to briskly catch up on.

They did it on Saturday night with their 29th victory in which they scored their highest tally and recorded their biggest winning margin in the run, to go along with those six draws.

They have, while we're at it, now played 2,725 minutes (or thereabouts) of football without experiencing that losing feeling, in which time they've scored 48-556 (700 points, no less) and conceded 20-383.

That's an average of exactly 20 points per match against 12.65 for a mean winning margin of almost seven and a half points.

And they have, if you're asking, kept clean sheets in 20 of those matches.


Since their last loss, 742 days ago, the Dubs have dug themselves out of some pretty perilous predicaments.

They have clawed, scraped and fought their way to results tha,t at advanced stages in several matches against serious teams, had appeared improbable.

Saturday night's crowning moment was not such an occasion.

"You never get that perfection piece in any game," said Jim Gavin afterwards, as only Jim Gavin can in these types of situations.

"At times the boys, you know, obviously played well but I suppose what was satisfying most was that collective work-rate from the first minute right through to the end.

"Coming up to Croke Park this evening, we knew that Roscommon needed to get the two points, that they would be desperate for them, and we were desperate for a performance as well so that kind of set the tone for the week."

Naturally, Gavin's view of the record is a dim one.

Which is to say that he couldn't really shed much light on what it all meant in the context of his team's standing amongst the sport's iconic sides.

"I can't control what people talk about, about the team. It's certainly not been mentioned by the players," he insisted.

"It's always been about the next game. We'll review that game obviously tonight and what we can learn from it, and there is some learning from it, that's for sure.

"Maybe," he added, indulging us for just a moment, "when the players finish their careers they might look back and they might take something from it.

"But, you know, games that they've performed in like this one, it's now in the past.

"They need to regroup again and focus on what's ahead. That's always been our philosophy and it ain't going to change now."

Not that you'd be of a mind to question Gavin's philosophy or anything else about his management of the Dublin team.

Any sort of result in Clones next Sunday would put them in a league final, wherein a win would give them a fifth spring crown in succession and a 12th major title out of 13 for Gavin.

Now, at a time when lots of his best players are returning to either action or form, it's hard to see anything stopping them this side of September.

"The currency we deal in is performance and that's what we try to strive for every day," he added.

"We got a good performance there today but we didn't get the complete one and that's what we're always striving for."

Roscommon, by consequence, went down in flames to Division 2 but Kevin McStay was determined that his long-term vision would survive the crash.

Similarly, he was fulsome in his praise for Dublin.

"If any team was to get the record - the way they play the game, the way they go about their business - you'd have to commend them," he stressed.

"They're a great example for the way the game should be played. They have players popping in and out of a panel that are all top, top dog.

"I congratulated them coming off the field. It's a fantastic achievement. What is it, 35? Jesus, think about that.

"And all the close shaves they were involved in and they still got the draw or the win out of it.

"They're a fantastic team," he concluded. "And it's going to take a fair team to knock them."

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