In July after the county handsomely won a Leinster title despite spurning goal chances as if they were going out of fashion, Bernard Brogan suggested they would be less selfish come the quarter-final.
“It’s been said and we’ve discussed it already that we badly need to give it to the man in the right position. It’s an 80-90% goal every time if you pop it to the lad across the goal so it’s just about smart play.”
Forgetting Alan Quirke’s best efforts, there wasn’t all that much clever in taking just one of seven goal chances in the win over Cork and after it Jim Gavin admitted his forward line had to improve their shot to goal ratio.
“In terms of our shot selections, we created lots of opportunities but we just need to be a bit more ruthless.”
Pass the ball off. Take on the shot. They are two completely contrasting viewpoints and yet this is what is likely going through the heads of the Dublin forwards, not to mention their flying wing-backs and midfielders who have all galloped up for pops this summer.
Dublin beat Brendan Kealy three times the last day but one of them came when Kerry had given up the ghost.
Ray Cosgrove noticed the profligacy hadn’t been cured that day: “A case in point is Michael Darragh Macauley’s effort when Berno (Brogan) was just standing inside him. But that’s been a case in point all year, where Dublin just haven’t taken the right option. Although they’re creating plenty of goal chances, they just don’t seem to be taking the right option. I’d like to think that Jim and the lads have been working on that over the last few weeks — and if they do make the right decisions, you know they could cut loose on Sunday. I think they’ve created something like 40 goal chances so if it was all to click into place, the Mayo defence could be pulled asunder.”
Dublin have shown they can recover from early goals but they have been the downfall of a number of Mayo teams at this stage.
But when Gavin has accommodated so many finishing forwards in his starting attack, is it any surprise there has been such feverish individualism shown?
Former Dublin player Shane Ryan spoke recently of Pat Gilroy’s urge for his players to get back and defend when forwards weren’t in possession. Bryan Cullen’s inclusion in attack lent to that creed but his successor Gavin prefers an offensive sextet, which offer up a better spread of scorers.
He doesn’t seem to be for changing in his ideology either: “Within Dublin there is an expectation for you to win, that’s a given. But the biggest thing is that they go out there and express themselves to play with freedom. That’s the way the current Dublin management believe that football should be played.”
It’s exciting, it’s thrilling but are there too many chiefs, not enough Indians? Too many hawks, not enough vultures? Too much boom or bust?