22 in a row and counting for Dublin

Sunday’s Leinster quarter-final win over Wicklow put Dublin on a par with their predecessors who, from 1974 to 1980, claimed 22 consecutive victories in the provincial championship.

Armed with the statistic at yesterday’s AIB football championship launch, James McCarthy intended informing his father John who featured on so many of those teams in that period. “That from the 70s? I’ll tell that to the old man when I see him later. Outdoing him again!”

Joking aside, McCarthy didn’t dare to dream Dublin would dominate for such a run, which stretches back to 2011 when they beat Laois.

When I started off, I never thought that would happen. The place we were coming from was a completely different place. Meath put five goals past us (in Croke Park in 2010). And that’s only a few years ago. It’s mad how we’ve gone from strength to strength.

McCarthy was satisfied with how Dublin opened their provincial account in Portlaoise two days ago.

“We played very well in the first half. We were very sharp. It was good after the break. Just to get together again and get a game together. Things have been going well the last couple of weeks.”

Dublin’s result didn’t surprise but the wins for Carlow and Longford, who face the All-Ireland champions next at GAA HQ, were against the odds. “From the outside looking in, you wouldn’t expect those results. But Longford probably should have been promoted from Division 3.

They seem to have a bit of form and they seem to be a united bunch. It was a bit of a shock. And then, Carlow beating Kildare, who were hot favourites. But I know from first hand last year, they (Carlow) give you a belly full of it.

“They’re a good team. That’s what struck me about them: They’re big, physical, strong. If you went into them, you were getting a good clip.

“They have big, strong men around the park. They’re a tough team to play against, so I’m not surprised. They seem to have huge momentum and there seems to be a huge buzz around the county.”

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