Sean Boylan knows a thing or two about bringing Dublin down, and while the legendary Meath manager sees no obvious stumbling block to prevent the Dubs running amok in Leinster again this year, he sees problems ahead for Jim Gavin’s side.
Dublin’s procession through the Leinster SFC has become a hallmark of too many summers and while it’s been suggested they are a wiser, meaner outfit in the wake of their All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Donegal last year, Boylan senses they are still vulnerable due to a lack of provincial combat.
“The Leinster championship is going through a torrid time,” said the four-time All-Ireland winning manager, at the launch of a charity GAA event at Royal County Down yesterday.
“Dublin are there or thereabouts but they are not the finished article.
“They have an incredible work ethic, there doesn’t seem to be an ego among them, but it is just so hard to keep the consistency of what they are doing and the way they play the game.
“Human nature being what it is, they might just be caught and if they’re not going to get good matches in Leinster, that’s going to be difficult for them.”
Boylan regards Kerry as favourites to win the All-Ireland with Dublin a close second and Galway are his dark horse selection.
“Cork? Well I don’t know what to make of them but I really think the Galway squad will take some watching this year and what Kerry have done is remarkable, to come back and win the All-Ireland last year.
“They nearly feel it’s their right. They play like that and they seem to be able to adjust their game.”
Boylan would not be his effervescent self without believing Meath are capable of causing an upset.
“I know a lot depends on whether Mickey Newman or Kevin Reilly are fit, but I think Meath have a lot of potential. I’m not saying that because I’m from there – they do.”
Part of the new Standing Committee on Playing Rules under chairman Jarlath Burns, Boylan was in Newcastle yesterday to launch a charity GAA match taking place the same week as the Irish Open.
Boylan fears predictable coaching and a fear of losing are causing counties to lose their identity and the calling cards that once made them great.
“We have only had one meeting but we are at the stage of trying to clear the windscreen to see what lies ahead. What makes the game really attractive? It’s not knowing what is going to happen next and the little bit of risk.
“It’s about not being afraid to trust your fellow player to fight for the ball and win it. The art of how to position yourself to win a ball and lay it off, these are things you don’t want to see lost.
“Now you see lads are in a great position to have a shot but the system says you must recycle it.
“Everybody is being coached the same way and teams have lost their identity.”
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