Dubs ready to drive for five


Deadly duo: Stephen Cluxton and Jim Gavin have guided Dublin to another title in clinical style. Photo: Sportsfile.

Deadly duo: Stephen Cluxton and Jim Gavin have guided Dublin to another title in clinical style. Photo: Sportsfile.

The Dubs drive for five is well and truly under way after they comprehensively defeated Tyrone in last Sunday's final to claim a record equalling fourth title in a row.

Their superiority is unquestionable, their ruthlessness knows no bounds, their desire to win is simply amazing. Never mind five, this crew could go for six or seven such is their strength in depth, coupled with their appetite to win trophies. Added to that, they have a manager who is absolutely ruthless in his decision making and gets the best out of a phenomenal bunch of players.

Jim Gavin doesn't do sentiment. Despite still having on his panel so many of his lieutenants that have soldiered bravely for him through his early days as Dublin manager, guiding him to his first All-Ireland still on his panel didn't affect his match day decision making. Bernard Brogan was left out of the match day squad entirely. Paul Flynn, Eoghan O'Gara and Paddy Andrews didn't get a competitive minute on the green grass on All-Ireland final Sunday-which must have been a serious reality check and very disappointing for the multiple All-Ireland winners.

If you were to be told two or three years ago that Dublin would win an All-Ireland without using the aforementioned players and a certain Diarmuid Connolly, then you would have laughed at whoever delivered the news. I fully expected Eoin Murchan to be dropped for Sunday's final after the roasting he received at the hands of Ian Burke for stages in the semi-final. But Gavin is more than likely thinking of the long haul, dropping Murchan could have had telling consequences for the confidence of the youngster and Gavin knows Philly McMahon and Cian O'Sullivan won't be around forever and he will need Murchan in the coming years. Murchan repaid his managers faith in him and had a very steady game.

Tyrone tried to lay down a marker early and tore into Dublin from the offset and were quite often cynical and over aggressive at times in some of their play. Paul Mannion and Ciaran Kilkenny were on the receiving end of some fairly hefty challenges when the ball was nowhere in sight, most often just after a shot had been taken on.

It took a horrendous kick out error by Tyrone Keeper Niall Morgan to ignite the Dubs when he kicked the ball directly to Ciaran Kilkenny, who off loaded to Con O'Callaghan, who then fed Paul Mannion, who was hauled down in the box for a penalty. On first viewing it looked very soft but upon watching the replay, referee Conor Lane got it spot on for me and he didn't have the benefit of a replay. Tiernan McCann had clearly pushed Mannion in the chest as he was about to strike before Mattie Donnelly got his hand on the ball to deflect it wide. Mannion dispatched the spot kick brilliantly.

That was the beginning of the end for Tyrone As the Dubs outscored them by 2-6 to a point for the last 15 minutes of the half. That was after Tyrone raced into a 0-5 to 0-1 point lead after 20 minutes. The second half was a procession for the Dubs even though John Small received his marching orders for the second final in a row.

Dublin's know-how and game management was all too visible as the red card was issued, as his club mate Philly McMahon was clearly seen on the TV telling Small to walk off slowly to kill the clock. Winning four titles in a row in the current climate, having teams so well prepared is an unbelievable achievement considering how much effort it takes to try to win just one. We can be extremely proud our troops have put it up to this team year after year.

Kerry minors march on

Galway will be pretty devastated they didn't win the first All-Ireland minor (at u17 level ) title after they squandered a seven point first half lead against five-in-a row chasing Kerry. Kerry have gone 30 games unbeaten at minor level dating back to 2014, which is an astonishing record, considering your team changes heavily every year. Amazingly, the last non Kerry player to lift the Tommy Markham cup was our own Stephen Coen in 2013.

McStay bows out

I have no doubt Kevin McStay's resignation as Manager of Roscommon will set tongues wagging about the now vacant Mayo job. He has declared he is finished with inter county management in his statement, however I'm not so sure he'd even want the Mayo gig, after the way he was treated the last time he expressed interest in the post. Betting has suspended on the new manager but nobody is any wiser as to who it will be. I can guarantee you one thing, it won't be me.

Tom bouncing back

After all the debacle involving Mayo GAA in the last two weeks, we'll finish with a positive story. Toms Parsons has undergone the second and last part of his surgery, which was a fairly extensive process as you can imagine and both he and his surgeon are very upbeat and satisfied about the way things have gone.

He expected to be in a lot more pain than he is and already has himself primed for the long road to recovery and the extensive rehab required. What a difference a year makes. Tom was in the white heat of battle in last years All- Ireland final and this year found himself watching on TV from a hospital bed in the Santry Sports Clinic, where the surgery was carried out. Keep up the good work Tom.


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