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Toughest test - Dessie

WITH a Leinster title safely tucked away, Dublin enter the All-Ireland series with a tricky looking Electric Ireland Minor Football Championship quarter-final against Monaghan in Newry next Sunday evening (5.30).

The Dubs have yet to be truly tested during their four provincial encounters against Carlow, Longford, Kildare and Meath, but Monaghan are likely to offer a serious examination of Dublin's All-Ireland credentials given their own form in Ulster.

The Farney men outplayed a hotly fancied Tyrone for large parts of the Ulster final nine days ago only to come out on the wrong end of a 0-14 to 1-8 scoreline with their set-up and structure likely to offer a fresh challenge to Dessie Farrell's charges, given the relative ease at which they strolled through Leinster.

"First and foremost, it is likely to be a very different challenge to what we have encountered in our campaign to date.

"We are moving out of the province and that makes our learning curve that little bit steeper.

"It is going to be a different challenge and it will be interesting to see how our lads deal with that," said Farrell.

What makes Dublin's encounter so fascinating is the defensive brand that Monaghan have adopted this year with Dublin unlikely to register the formidable tallies they've accrued to date, a fact acknowledged by the Na Fianna clubman.

"We are under no illusions as to what we will face on Sunday. Monaghan were beaten by a very strong Tyrone team, and they were slightly unfortunate on the day. They have a particular defensive set-up which is difficult to breach and then they counter-attack in numbers.

"We are well aware of the type of brand that they will adopt and we will work hard on planning our tactics accordingly.

"It is not just about their system as they have some very good players throughout the team and it is imperative that we raise our game accordingly as the standard increases all the time, the further you progress in the championship," said Farrell.

The performance in claiming Leinster nine days ago, however impressive, is of little significance at this juncture with the season starting in essence on Sunday with Farrell quick to leave behind the events of last Sunday week.

"I think we were fortunate to catch Meath on an off-day and their display was not a true reflection of their capabilities.

"We are starting again to a certain degree and although it was nice for the players to win a provincial title, that is very much done and dusted at this stage.

"Nobody really pays much attention to who wins the provinces and we would be of a similar mindset in that we are all looking forward and hoping to put in a good performance on Sunday.

"The time for us to perform is now. The bar has been raised and it is up to us to face the new challenges that await us," he concluded.