The product is poor. Even Sky didn't want to know about two games of that stuff over the weekend. Why is it 'poor'? Imo, it relates to the legacy that Tyrone 2003-2008, and more particularly Donegal 2011-2014 have visited upon the old game. By and large, the sight of teams attacking through a defense comprising of 12 or 13 players stacked inside their own 60 yard line is not going to be pretty, no matter how you dress it up.
This 'problem' is then coupled with a much more serious issue, which is that Dublin are going win all their games, the top4 will be the top4or5, the top8 will be mostly div1 NFL sides, and we spend 2 or 3 months beating about the bush, watching hugely boring fare, only to arrive increasingly these days with the same old deja vu. Dublin need a rival, and preferably rivals. If we had that, we'd probably be able to tolerate the fact that it's not good to look at. Without that, people in increasing droves, don't want to know, and worse don't want to go. Coming up:analysis --- oh no, time to flick over to something else, anything else!
Pope_Benedict (Galway) - Posts: 2299 - 24/06/2019 09:54:54
Well now, Leinster has come and gone and the records keep falling. Dublin pulled of a 9 in a row provincial for the first time ever yesterday and go 32 games unbeaten in championship football. But we will take the inevitable licks in the media, with our usual cheeky grin and the broad shoulders of champions of Ireland.
For all the talk of financial advantages, avocado on your toast and designer coddle,the real goldmine yesterday was in the poncho production business. Many Dubs would have swapped their games development millions next year for an iluminous bin bag, as the heavens opened up on the greatest side ever in the game.
Not to be disheartened a good crowd of 47k braved the mean streets of Drumcondra and a bit of buzz on the streets of the capital that I havent seen at this stage in a few years, maybe 2017 vs Kildare. Prematch pints mercifully sorted in the hazy warm threatening weather with due consideration given by mother nature who you would suspect is a blue and we got off light pre game.
Dublin started, with pretty much the same team as the last day, with Jamsey going into midfield from the half back line. MDM dropping out and Jonny Small on hard as nails duty.
Meath set up as had been advertised before the game and no real surprises.
The game started with Dublin playing a bit of a rope a dope, content on just mixing it about and seeing how Meath were setting up. To be honest that lasted for about 25 mins of the first half and i had to check my watch to see if the time was right, as it seemed to be about 25th or 30th minute before any type of contest could be discerned. Dublin were taking over points here and there, but nothing to write home about and Meath seemed contend to be hitting anything bar between the posts and pitching the tent behind the Dublin 45 meter line.
I think Meath have taken unfair criticism from yesterdays game. They came with a tactical game plan to try and crack the Dublin code. This involved going man to man and man marking a few danger men, Keoghan on Kilkenny in particular and take their chances on the 50/50 of winning their personal battles. Defensively they implemented the Eamon Fitzmaurice high press that won Kerry the league final in 2017. Thirdly offensively they had a game plan of holding possession when they had it and play it around in front of the Dublin defensive system, to try and expend energy and wait for an opening. Essentially what Dublin do to everyone else and what Roscommon have also been doing recently to great success.
Sadly for Meath it didn't work, they didn't win enough of the 50/50 battles, they struggled with sticking or twisting on their man markers as once Dublin had worked it out, they would move their man markers around creating gaps. The high press limited us breaking at pace in the first half and beginning of the second, but Dublin were composed and got their transitions through in the main and were content to just tack on scores and continue to circle and wait for signs of fatigue, that inevitably came. Lastly what killed Meath really was a lack of purposeful progressive play when they had a lot of pocesssion behind the 45 min line and most of their offensive play and possession was there. When they passed the 45 meter line the Dublin defensive snare bit, which led to a fair bit of turnover being won by our defenders or Meath being pressurized into taking mad shots. A lot is being said about Meaths low scoring, but the Dublin defensive system was terrific. And was a big take home plus for me.
So the first half labored on and was a very weird game, it was kind of like the Mayo semi final in 2012, you kind of wondered had the match started at half time. At one stage it looked like Dublin would turn the screw in the first half but for the post to deny Mannion for a penalty making it a forgone conclusion, wasnt to be however. Other notable events were a massively anxiety provoking injury to Jamsey. If Jamsey doesnt get up after a knock you know hes injured. One of Dublins most important players and hopefully hes ok for three weeks time, he is simply massive Dublin and i would be less confident of our chances this year without him. From a Meath point of view i thought their defense was excellent in the first half.
The heavens opened in the second half with most Dubs wishing they had brought their long boats. Second half Dublin looked in no mood to be hanging around or to pick up further lumps, Dublin started to break the high press at will, move the ball forward for a point in two or three phases and content not to bring the ball into contact and hit some long range scores. As these accumulated Meath physically and psychologically gave up the ghost as Dublin made hay during the third and last quarter and the meath game plan was sprung. The bench was emptied and a Con goal ending any lingering hope for Meath and it was all about if you could get you name on the score sheet.
From a Dublin point of view, many pleasing aspects. Con O Callaghan is having a brilliant season, he is turning into such a top player despite his tender years, he has very few weakness, brilliant fielder, so strong, so intellgent, so tactically aware in play making and so clinical scoring, physically he is being so strong and powerful. He is having his best year for me and turning into one of the best players in Ireland, really very few flaws to his game. Mannion was terrffic maybe a bit eager at times, but really leads from the front. Super Brian 1, put in a top quality performance. Deano was sprung from the bench with a point to prove to get his place back from Cormac, he duely played excellently and hit four points, made a few more and played a brilliant pass in for Cons goal. There is a dog fight in those forward positions at the moment. Jack as well was brilliant just cut through the Meath lines at will yesterday making a mockery of marking and tackles.
Most pleasing aspect for me was our defensive performance we really repelled Meath and 4 scores, less from play, tells its own story. Ive never seen anything like the competition in the defense this year. Davey Byrne, Micky Fitz and Philly started and all three i thought were excellent, less a wobble from Davey in the second half. But serious competition is coming as Rory continues to look brilliant in his cameos, Jonny Copper approaching fitness for the business end and Murch and Eric Lowdness options for a shirt as well. Despite the winter narrative i dont think we have had better options and competition in our full back lines in any of years of winning.
In critique we were sloppy at times, we looked content to allow Meath to run themsleves ragged and simply contain them and try and punish if we could. It was a second gear performance for much of the game, happy to play roe a dope, and up the tempo for a bit to put the game to bed, then conserve energy. Thought we were sloppy at times, Howard looked a bit of it to me, Scully to tried some Hollywood stuff at times that didnt come off, but was always on the move.
The Jamesy injury is massively worrying, hopefully it will prove minor, i had ear marked him for midfield going into the S8's and we look a bit light there now with MDM, Young Gavin (who wasnt in the math day squad yesterday), Howard or maybe even Cian in with a shout if Jamsey has a bad injury, hopefully not though.
I wouldn't be to disheartened if i was Meath, despite the eternal optimism and sentiment of last week, it was always going to be a job to beat Dublin. Yesterday was a free hit for them and i thought they were good at the back in the main and were caught by executing a plan that just didnt work or was worked out, but no shame in that as thats what Dublin do, they are a thinking team. Think they will go again and have a good shot of making the S8s depending on the draw in the next round. McEntee is no fool and he looked furious after the game, well during it too to be honest. Thats good you need high standards to be held to.
Next us for us, we will take our inevitable licks in the media for beating everyone out the gate, with a smile, a bit of coddle and look to our own. We need to see how Jamsey is and take it from there in the next few weeks. All good so far though, the competition in the squad is as fierce as i can ever remember it and we will take progress from there after we nurse a few sore heads from our celebrations.
We move on, next up S8's , Roscommon, Cork, Cavan or the teams that beat them in qualifiers, cant wait.
TheUsername (Dublin) - Posts: 3075 - 24/06/2019 15:20:06