Dubs show glimpses of returning to their old selves

With the disappointment and uncertainty surrounding Dublin’s National Football League campaign, last Saturday’s comfortable win against Wexford was a welcome respite from the negativity of recent months.

For the first time in a while there was a refreshing and much-needed positivity accompanying the analysis of Dublin’s easy 1-24 0-4 win over an admittedly underperforming Wexford side.

“You were right to be encouraged and excited by various aspects of Dublin’s performance on Saturday, but what impressed me the most was the attitude of the players throughout the game,” said former Dublin forward Kieran Duff.

“I think that was the issue that worried Dublin fans the most throughout the league, that the hunger and attitude wasn’t at the level that we expect from these players.

“Perhaps some of the lads weren’t quite fit and were working their way into top form but it was very encouraging to see their bid against Wexford.

“It was reluctant at first and Dublin took time to make progress but the longer the game went on the more dominant they became.

“There seemed to be a marked difference in their attitude when you compare last Saturday night’s game to the game against Wexford last year.

“That night Dublin was bullied a bit and didn’t seem in the right shape to deal with it but there was no chance they let the same thing happen last weekend.

“They were more aggressive in the tackle and it was a return to the Dublin of last few years and that’s something that gives encouragement for the rest of the Championship,” said the Fingallians legend.

No player embodied Dublin’s improvement in terms of bid as Brian Fenton, with the Raheny midfielder returning to his daring best against Wexford.

His five points from the game only told half the story of the impact he was making on the game and Duff was delighted to see the two-time Footballer of the Year back in his majestic best.

“It was great to see Brian Fenton reminding people what a good player he is and how important he is to this Dublin team,” said Duff.

“He may not have had the biggest league campaigns and as a result received his fair share of criticism, but I think most of it was unwarranted and unfair.

“People questioned his ability to deliver in a team that isn’t that ​​dominant anymore and I think he answered all his critics on Saturday night.

“His point-scoring was exceptional, but it was the will and hunger he showed that impressed me the most.

“Whether it was his work rate, tackling, forcing turnovers or his ability to ghost past players, he looked in great shape and hopefully he can make a similar impact for the rest of the year.”

Another player who made a strong impression was Con O’Callaghan, with the Cuala double star finishing the game 1-6 on his account.

All year Dublin fans have waited patiently, and sometimes not so patiently, for Dublin’s attacking talisman to return from injury and O’Callaghan did not disappoint with another telling reminder of his importance to the team.

“In a way it was the perfect game for Con to come back to the team as the outcome was never really in doubt,” added Duff.

“He took his time getting into play and very little ball got in his way in the first quarter when Dublin initially struggled to get going.

“However, when the game opened up, he got an opportunity to show his class and he took that chance with both hands.

“He still has thoughts of taking on his direct opponent and that makes him so dangerous and crucial to attacking in Dublin.

“The attacking line was well balanced and for the first time in a long time Dublin chose an attack where all six players can score.

“Obviously not all the strikers played brilliantly that night but it’s encouraging to see a Dublin team creating chances to score across the park.

“Con just brings something different to the table in terms of how he works, and his presence gives other players room to score. Dessie Farrell will be delighted to have him back on the sidelines.

“To be honest I’ve never doubted that despite some results and performances in the league this year, Dublin still have the staff to be serious contenders.

“I think some of the criticism they’ve received would have hurt them and the only way to respond is through their on-pitch performance.

“I know some excellent players have retired from the panel but there is still some serious talent on the Dublin panel this year.

“They look more like the old Dublin team, with the runners coming off the shoulder fast and defensively, they chased in packs and made sure they didn’t get caught from behind by constructive filtering.

“They are still the guys who have to make the right decisions on the pitch and they seemed to have the right attitude on Saturday.

“Attitude is key in that regard and if that’s the case then the class of the footballers should shine through.”

https://www.independent.ie/sport/gaelic-games/dublin-gaa/dubs-show-glimpses-of-return-to-their-old-selves-41607522.html Dubs show glimpses of returning to their old selves

Fry Electronics Team

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