Dublin legend Brian Mullins says the All-Ireland champions’ greatest challenge in defending their crown is a mental one.
The St Vincent’s man was part of the Dublin team that last put back-to-back titles together in 1976 and 1977 and believes the ambition will come from the players.
“I think in all sports the high-achievers, the successful outfits do, at times, struggle with motivation and having to sustain levels of energy and commitment and dedication that is required,” he said.
“In a current situation, you look at Leinster and you see they’re capable of producing quality performance after quality performance, and that to some extent in GAA, teams can get away with less quality during the league at different times of the year.
“But it’s a difficult thing to measure. And it’s a very difficult thing for a manager to measure in a team in training, whether they’re exactly where they need to be, psychologically.”
Mullins doesn’t think an attempt to retain an All-Ireland title can be compared with doing the same in the 1970s. “I would say it’s more competitive now, as evidenced in the last 20 years. “It’s part of the nature of the competition, the way the format has changed. It’s a good thing.”
As a club-mate of his, Mullins appreciates the coaching expertise of Mickey Whelan. At the same time, he is not too concerned about his absence from the Dublin sideline.
“A person of Mickey’s experience and know-how contributed greatly to the success of last year and the previous year’s performances. All entities, be they sport or otherwise, life goes on. And if there are training requirements and coaching requirements, I’m sure the Dublin management have made arrangements to make up for whatever Mickey is not doing now.”
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