Jimmy Keaveney: Current side will win more than us

Dublin great Jimmy Keaveney has tipped the present team to double the All-Ireland tally of the great 1970s side he played in.

Full-forward Keaveney was a key player in the Kevin Heffernan managed Dubs sides that collected three All-Ireland wins in four seasons in the mid-70s.

Jim Gavin’s current side almost matched that achievement last weekend when they won the Sam Maguire Cup for the third time in five seasons.

In a tweet after last weekend’s three-point win over Kerry, ex-Dubs midfielder and Sunday Game pundit Ciaran Whelan, said the present side is ‘probably the best team ever in the capital’.

Gavin rejected comparisons between the eras, insisting that ‘nothing will ever match Kevin Heffernan’s team...they got the city alive to Gaelic football so I don’t think we’ll ever compare to those giants of the game’.

Keaveney claimed it’s ultimately impossible to say which team is better given the 40-year time difference — though he is certain the current team will outdo his side in All-Ireland terms.

That ‘70s team had largely broken up when Dublin next won the Championship in 1983, while last Sunday’s team has an average age of just over 26, suggesting further gains.

“What I would say is that the major advantage this team holds over us is that when we won our All-Irelands, a good number of lads were 28, 29, 30,” said Keaveney.

“This team is a hell of a lot younger and I can definitely see them outscoring us in terms of All-Ireland wins. They’ll win another couple for sure, it could be three or four more.

“We didn’t have that time on our side but with the age profile that’s there now, and the fact that they’re such a determined bunch of fellas, with a good manager and a good foundation of success, I can see them really kicking on.”

Keaveney’s 1970s outfit continue to lord it over the present bunch in one vital area as the last Dublin team to win back to back All-Irelands. That was in 1977 when Keaveney himself collected back to back Texaco Footballer of the Year awards.

“They would be intent now on coming back and winning it again in 2016, particularly after not doing so after the 2011 and 2013 wins,” continued Keaveney.

“There’s no reason why they can’t. That said, Kerry is a special county and although Dublin beat them fairly comfortably overall last weekend, if that match was to be replayed tomorrow morning, I’d be just as concerned about Kerry possibly winning.”

“Nobody has threatened them in Leinster, and it’s hard to see that happening any time soon really, so you’ve got to expect they’ll be in the next few All-Ireland quarter-finals anyway,” said Keaveney.

“At that point, you’re looking at Kerry as always but that Kerry team from last weekend is going to lose guys to retirement now. They’re talking about three or four lads possibly going so that really leaves it up to Dublin that, if they’ve got the right attitude, it’s going to be there for them again.

“The one side that could give them a hard time, funnily enough, is probably Tyrone. Mickey Harte is putting a push on again with them and I think they’re going to be strong in the next few years.”

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