Fellow forward Eoghan O’Gara touched on the riches available to the county recently when he remarked that Gavin could choose any one of a dozen players for his forward line alone. And the next generation made its biggest statement yet last weekend.
Conor McHugh was the star in Saturday’s All-Ireland U21 final rout of Roscommon when claiming 1-6 from play, while Paul Mannion and Cormac Costello completed a frightening full-forward line that accounted for 1-18 on the day.
It was a stunning performance against a highly-rated Roscommon side, handing Dublin their third title at the grade in just five seasons — all this just a week after the seniors claimed back-to-back league titles at Croke Park.
Dublin have, in fairness, an impressive record in graduating players from successful U21 ranks.
Alan Brogan was one of at least eight players to feature prominently at senior level from the side that won their first All-Ireland at the grade in 2003.
Subsequent successes in 2010 and 2012 have also aided the evolution of men such as Johnny Cooper, Dean Rock, Jack McCaffrey and Ciarán Kilkenny into the elite ranks and that flow shows no sign of slowing.
“There’s a traffic jam now of powerful young lads that are coming up,” Brogan said.
“The likes of McHugh that would be any team… I’m sure he will get a chance. In other years or other days of Dublin, they would all be in there looking to get a shot with the senior team.
“But it can be difficult and that’s the challenge for Jim: to keep these lads motivated. They’re the guys that are going to be the future of Dublin,” added Brogan, who turned 30 recently. “You want to keep them in tow.”