Former Dublin defender Coman Goggins has insisted the All-Ireland champions are not unbeatable as they narrow their focus on four-in-a-row.

Dublin haven’t lost a Championship game in four years and recently picked up their fifth Allianz league title in six seasons under Jim Gavin.

But ex-All-Star Goggins said that teams are getting closer to figuring them out as Galway proved with their near miss in the league decider.

Goggins believes that Dublin’s biggest issues lie in defence and noted the continued absence of Cian O’Sullivan and Jack McCaffrey through injury while James McCarthy was taken off against Galway.

“I think Dublin have probably shown some frailties,” said Goggins. “When I say that, they’re obviously missing a couple of key guys and they’re missing a lot of pace across the team.

“When you take Jack McCaffrey out, I think Dublin have struggled without the panic he causes when he gets on the ball.

“I think what some of those guys cover with their pace, not that it exposes guys, but it’s suddenly asking other defenders to do another bit more because they don’t have someone tracking back as much as they had in the past.

“Frailties is probably a strong word given the success they’ve had but I think what it’s maybe shown is that yeah, they have great strength in depth to come back into the set-up, but it shows there’s an opportunity to get at them. Obviously when teams are ran at, whether you’re Dublin or anyone else, it’s hard to defend against.

I think that Galway have proven that ... you can get close to these guys. Mayo have certainly proven it. Kerry have proven it. I don’t think anyone would feel that there’s anything to be more fearful of this year.

"I think now is an opportunity to say, ‘Well, let’s take Dublin on at their own game’. If you can try to do that, and set yourself up some way defensively, then you have a chance to beat them.”

Goggins, who played for Dublin throughout the 2000s, stopped short of tipping anyone to beat the champions.

“There’s improvement to do across the back unit heading into the summer,” he said. “They probably identified a couple of challenges they need to work on. I think collectively if they get all their guys on the field, as a back six they’re going to be hard to break down.”

Goggins praised the return to top form of Michael Darragh Macauley at midfield alongside Brian Fenton.

“He’s had a great league campaign,” said Goggins of 2013 Footballer of the Year Macauley. “When you’re talking about what drives guys on, you’d love to get into their heads and see. 

"He has All-Ireland medals, he was struggling to get into the team last year but he’s obviously said, ‘Right, I’m going to give it a good push this year’. Is he going to be your number one starting midfielder, alongside Fenton? Certainly they’ve tandemed well together across the league campaign so he’s great in terms of an option.

“You’re also looking at Brian Howard fitting into the setup and you’re saying maybe he’ll end up in the middle of the field at some point. But from a Dublin perspective, Michael Darragh Macauley offers a bit of ‘go forward’ when momentum is hard to come by.

“And his attitude and drive to try and achieve yards in a football game is phenomenal.”


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