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Dublin are mighty, but they aren't invincible: Gallagher

By Declan Bogue

Published 06/08/2016

Game plan: Rory Gallagher says intensity and accuracy is how Donegal can topple Dublin at Croke Park
Game plan: Rory Gallagher says intensity and accuracy is how Donegal can topple Dublin at Croke Park

Donegal manager Rory Gallagher has revealed that he shares the national 'obsession' with Dublin's senior football team.

"The whole country obsesses about Dublin," quipped Gallagher when asked about this evening's All-Ireland quarter-final opponents at a sold-out Croke Park.

"You keep an eye on Dublin all year of course. I think they are a very good side. It is up to others to determine how good they are, all we are concerned with is being ready on Saturday evening."

The two sides met at the same venue in the National League on March 26, with Dublin taking victory on a 1-10 to 0-7 scoreline. The lack of punch from the Donegal attack in that encounter will worry Gallagher, although his mood will have been sunny after the last game when Patrick McBrearty compiled 11 of their 0-21 total against Cork.

"You can go out with the best of intentions to keep things tight, but they (Dublin) can open up," mused Gallagher.

"One thing is for sure - Dublin will come to Croke Park where they always put up a fairly decent score. That is going to be the challenge for us - to score at the other end."

For all that, and the 1/6 odds priced at the bookmakers, the Belleek native is keen to stress that Dublin are not infallible.

"For sure they are beatable. Dublin would be very much aware of that as well," he said.

"To beat them you have to do an awful lot of things right. You have to produce a level of intensity that is greater than theirs. You have to make sure that when you get the chances, you put them away. That's the challenge."

Asked if he would bow to the clamour from some quarters and play his captain Michael Murphy closer to the Dublin goal, he responded: "It isn't easy to keep him in sometimes. We are very fortunate with Michael.

"I think people stigmatise because he wears the No.14 on his back. Michael would see himself as a footballer capable of playing anywhere."

In the week after losing the Ulster final to Tyrone, Gallagher received a measure of criticism for his conservative tactical approach from columnists and pundits - not least from former Donegal manager Jim McGuinness, who held that he was too concerned with protecting his defence and questioned his use of substitutes.

However, Gallagher revealed that he didn't pay too much attention while getting Donegal ready for the challenge of their Round 4 qualifier against Cork.

"It isn't something that overly bothers me to be honest," he said.

"I'm not on social media by any stretch of the imagination. I got a text from someone to keep the chin up so there must have been something out there."

Meanwhile, captain Murphy has hailed the performance of McBrearty in that win over the Leesiders.

"Paddy has been doing it now for a long time. It was a phenomenal performance," said the Glenswilly man.

"I am training with him week in, week out. He has always had it in his locker to do it, with the power and the skill that he has. It is second to none, I would not swap what he can do with a football for the world.

"He was just extremely sharp last Saturday night but he has been doing that in training. He is just one of those players who you really respect and the amount of football he has under his belt at such a young age is great."

Murphy also answered queries about his own patchy form, with question marks over his movement and physical conditioning, having missed out on some training with a troublesome ankle injury earlier this summer.

"I'm gradually getting there as the year goes on, and I hope to perform a lot better and do my job for the team," he added.

"Every day I go out and train, I go out to try and get fitter, stronger, sharper. And I hope to do that again the next day. I hope to do it against Dublin."

  • Dublin v Donegal: All-Ireland SFC quarter-final: Croke Park, Today, 6.00pm

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