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Dubs are homing in on an historic four-in-a-row haul

By John Campbell

Published 23/04/2016

Old rivals: Kerry’s Bryan Sheehan at Croke Park with Dublin ace Denis Bastick
Old rivals: Kerry’s Bryan Sheehan at Croke Park with Dublin ace Denis Bastick

It may come as a surprise to some but Dublin, favourites to retain the Allianz League Division One title and add the All-Ireland crown to it, do not have a home of their own.

This was confirmed earlier in the week by manager Jim Gavin but if they have been forced to live a nomadic existence over the course of the winter in terms of seeking out suitable pitches on which to train, it certainly has not been to their detriment.

And the absence of a centre of excellence has certainly not militated against the lucrative sponsorship deals, massive support and huge profile which a team that is akin to the Manchester United of Gaelic football boasts.

Tomorrow the Dubs will meet Kerry in the Allianz League decider at Croke Park (3.30pm) conscious that a fourth title on the trot will see them earn a special place in the history books.

But from Gavin's perspective, victory would be a big step in his team's build-up to the Leinster and All-Ireland Championships.

Having dismissed suggestions that Dublin will avail of the GAA's new multi-million euro facility at the National Sports Campus at Abbotstown, Gavin admits: "We are behind other counties in getting pitches for our minors, Under-21s and seniors but the Dublin county board is working towards providing a more permanent base for us as we don't have a home yet."

In overcoming Donegal in the semi-finals, Dublin rarely engaged first gear while Kerry just went through the motions against Roscommon.

Tomorrow fans may get what Tyrone manager Mickey Harte already labels "one hell of a game".

His view that the match will be played with Championship intensity is shared by many, as is his prediction that Kerry's hunger will drive them over the line.

Dublin will look to Paul Flynn, James McCarthy, Diarmuid Connolly, Bernard Brogan and Philly McMahon for inspiration while Kerry will lean on in-form quintet Shane Enright, Aidan O'Mahony, Kieran Donaghy, Colm Cooper and Donnachadh Walsh.

Dublin scraped by Monaghan by a point (1-14 to 0-16) and Donegal (1-10 to 0-7), while Kerry have gone six games unbeaten. It makes for a fascinating battle.

Belfast Telegraph

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