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Dublin manager Jim Gavin.

It’s Dublin’s Sam to lose

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Dublin manager Jim Gavin.

A number of weeks back, the Dublin manager Jim Gavin caused an outbreak of amazement in the Irish sporting media when he announced his team for a National Football League game on a Thursday.

Normal service, you will be glad to know, was resumed on Friday night when the names of the 15 Dublin players to start against Derry in the National League final were released to the media at 10:20 p.m. approximately.

Now, what you might wonder out there in the Bronx, is the problem with the Dublin football team boss releasing his team late on a Friday night but more than 36 hours before the biggest game of the year?

In truth, there is no problem. In reality, it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference when Jim Gavin tells his media sidekick, known by the wonderful name of Shep, to tell the press the supposed starting team for any game, big or small.

It won’t change your life if you know what 15 players are playing for Dublin on any given Sunday and it won’t change mine, not personally anyway.

Professionally, it is a problem. Ireland’s national newspapers go to print early on a Friday night simply because Saturday is one of the biggest sales days of the week and we are no different at the Irish Sun where I work.

Normally by 10:20 on a Friday night we should be wondering where we are going for a post-work pint, not wondering who will play from 1 to 15 for the Dubs against Derry.

For whatever reason, and I am sure he has one, Gavin likes to keep the press waiting most Friday nights, and good luck to him. That is entirely his prerogative.

It is also completely unnecessary.  Gavin could name any 15 players from the current Dublin squad for any game and they would probably win it. That is how strong the Dubs are at present.

They proved it again on Sunday when they blew Derry out of the water at Croke Park with a convincing and impressive 3-19 to 1-10 win over an Ulster side completely out of their depth on the national stage.

Bernard Brogan, once again, was brilliant for the Blues. Diarmuid Connolly proved, again, that he is the current favorite for the Footballer of the Year crown. And Dublin lorded it, quite literally, from goalkeeper to corner forward over their northern opponents.

They are the form team in Ireland right now. They are the best team in Ireland right now.

And they are the only team who will be left standing when Sam Maguire is handed over in the Hogan Stand on the second last Sunday in September this autumn.

All that stands between Dublin and another All-Ireland final win is history. Very few teams have won back to back All-Irelands in football.

Nobody has won the league and the championship two seasons in a row, but Dublin already have three out of those four trophies in the bag if you know what I mean.

They will win Sam again and they will do it in style. That’s the great thing about this team under Gavin’s tutelage. 

They play good football. They play entertaining football. They play to score goals and points and they play to win.

There may still be some question marks over their defense and they are prone to conceding the odd goal or two. But, a bit like Newcastle United when they nearly won the Premier League under Kevin Keegan, they don’t really care how many goals or points they concede because they just know they are going to score more than their opponents at the other end of the pitch.

It is great to watch as a spectator and harrowing for the opposition.

Unless someone like Meath or Tyrone can reinvent the blanket defense, Dublin will canter to the Leinster and All-Ireland crowns this summer.

Cork are about the only team who can put it up to them, but they were 10 points up against the Dubs in the league semifinals and lost by seven, so you know who has won that psychological war before it even starts.

History may be against them, but the history of other teams means nothing to this current Dublin crop. They are swashbuckling and they are winners.

And it doesn’t matter who Gavin plays or what time he announces his team on a Friday night – Dublin are still untouchable.

They could just accept it and make our lives a little easier on the press release front -- not that anyone else should care about that little detail. 

It won’t make any difference when the All-Ireland is decided come September, nor should it.

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