Dublin keeping cool as tougher tests lie ahead

There was no pitch invasion in Croke Park two days ago.

Dublin keeping cool as tougher tests lie ahead

A number of the Dublin footballers didn’t even walk up the Hogan Stand to get their mitts on the Delaney Cup after the defeat of Meath in the Leinster final.

The Gaelic Grounds it most certainly wasn’t. Or even Croke Park seven days earlier, when Jim Gavin and his squad looked on from the Davin Stand as the hurlers secured a first provincial title since 1961.

No blame should be attached to the Dubs for that. Eight titles in nine years would have a corrosive effect on anyone’s appetite. For Paul Flynn, who carved out 1-1 for himself on the day, it was a sixth Leinster title but the Fingallians forward was on the defensive when asked if it all wasn’t becoming a trite boring for them by now.

“When you’re playing against Meath in front of 55,000 and you’re under the cosh, they’re two points up at half-time and you come back and win it, then it means something, yeah. Yeah it does.”

Flynn reflected how as a boy he once saw fellow clubman Kieran Duff’s medal collection laid out and how satisfying it would be to do something similar when his days collecting trinkets are behind him. It remains to be seen for now what use a Leinster SFC bereft of the defensive football favoured elsewhere proves to be for their immediate All-Ireland ambitions.

“It’s hard to know it until we play [against] it but I suppose we played a little bit against it in the league. We tried to set ourselves up to counter-attack and it worked out sometimes, it didn’t work out other times. We’re not really going to know that until we come up against it.

“There’s question marks but we’ll just have to see. We’ll just have to keep plugging on, concentrate on what we can concentrate on, which is our tactics and our game plan, and if we get that right, we’ll hopefully be okay.”

Flynn is adamant Dublin will hardly change tactics now, not after Gavin turned his back on Pat Gilroy’s template and started over, but there was realism in his admittance that aspects of their approach would be tailored slightly all the same.

Only when rounds three and four of the qualifiers are done this next two weekends will they learn the next obstacle, which affords Gavin time to address the shortcomings against Meath.

“It’s the way it always has been in the [All-Ireland] quarter-finals but we’ll be keeping an eye on the qualifiers now and keeping an eye on the teams who are producing good performances.

“We just have to keep on pushing ourselves within the squad and you saw yourselves the lads who came on made an impact [against Meath]. They’re going to want to play now for the All-Ireland quarter-finals and there’s lads coming back from injury too.”

Time yet for those wild celebrations, perhaps.

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