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Pictured Oisin McConville

Date: Wednesday 5th May 2010

Location: Studio

Photographer: Liam McBurney

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Liam McBurney

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We shouldn't be trying to limit Dublin's incredible talents, we should be encouraging other counties to get creative to stop them

Oisin McConville


Dublin’s Robbie McDaid celebrates scoring a goal

Dublin’s Robbie McDaid celebrates scoring a goal

�INPHO/James Crombie

Dublin’s Robbie McDaid celebrates scoring a goal

It was inevitable and now that it has come to pass, I feel it is incumbent on other counties to address the challenge with which they are confronted.

I am referring of course to Dublin's imperious surge into yet another All-Ireland Final in which they will meet Mayo next Saturday against the backdrop of an ongoing debate which suggests that off-field steps should be taken to curb their dominance.

And this is something that I am opposed to. Straight away, let me be quite clear on this - Dublin's superiority is fully merited and their prospects of landing what would be a sixth consecutive All-Ireland title are bright.

Their Championship form to date has been majestic and the manner in which they continue to challenge themselves has been further intensified.

But rather than support possible efforts to detract from Dublin's admittedly considerable resources, I think it is time for other counties throughout the island to come to terms with what is a massive challenge.

The Dubs have not lost a Championship match since Donegal proved their masters in 2014 yet it is worth bearing in mind that they only managed to get past Mayo in the All-Ireland Finals of 2013, 2016 and 2017 by a single point.

Mayo will once again form the opposition next weekend somewhat chastened by the fact that they conceded 3-13 in eclipsing Tipperary in last Sunday's Semi-Final - and they could have leaked a greater total had their opponents not spurned a succession of goalscoring opportunities.

Yet even in taking this into account, it is probable that Mayo will adhere to recent tradition and offer robust resistance. They remain one of the few sides who are immune to the defeatist attitude which I believe has infiltrated a number of counties throughout the island.

I feel it is time for such outfits to try and put their own house in order.

I acknowledge that their mission is formidable given that some extremely capable players are currently distancing themselves from inter-county squads because they feel that Dessie Farrell's side will continue to hold too many aces on an ongoing basis, thus rendering their efforts futile.

In one respect I would feel Dublin should be asked to concede ground and this surrounds their now accepted 'right' to host virtually all their Championship matches in Croke Park. I don't think last Saturday's Semi-Final against Cavan should have been played there and in the interests of fairness and welfare of provincial and All-Ireland Championships it might be no harm if the Dubs were asked to log up some extra mileage.

While I understand that it takes a lot of resources to keep Dublin ticking over, this is not quite the case with other counties.

Instead of casting envious glances in Dublin's direction, they should be looking at what the reigning All-Ireland champions are doing on and off the field and learn from that.

I feel it is essential that any county which has aspirations of making significant progress should have top-class under-age and coaching structures in place and in addition their administrators need to be really good.

If you look at counties which are viewed to be prospering in their own way at present, it will be quickly noted that they have these elements in place.

I don't want to be viewed as over-dramatic in this situation but unless teams are prepared to tackle these grassroots issues as a precursor to moving forward then they may as well throw in the towel and give up.

If anyone thinks that Dublin is going to be split in two or there will be any major overhauls in the near future then they will have another thing coming.

The current situation is worrying - if you think of the level of work that a county like Leitrim or Wicklow might have to undertake to get within a respectable distance of Dublin, then that really smacks of intensive labour.

Yet if this work is undertaken diligently, I believe that we could have rather more parity in terms of what happens on the field of play.

Right now, because of recent results, I get the distinct impression that a number of counties appear to have lost their appetite for the challenge and this is certainly very disappointing.

I honestly believe that the tide will turn but it is going to take a lot of effort on the part of countless people - players, coaches, managers, officials and, yes, fans - if this is to happen in the near future.

The wheels for this need to be set in motion right now so that goals can be achieved and the All-Ireland Football Championship becomes a rather more level playing field.

Ladies' venue chaos may well help unison talks gain ground

What a shambles that unfurled in relation to the choice of venue for the All-Ireland Ladies' Senior Football Championship Semi-Final between Cork and Galway last weekend.

Just at a time when the ladies' game is enjoying a highest-ever profile, 11th-hour confusion reigned immediately prior to what had been billed as one of the most attractive fixtures of the year.

The match was originally fixed for the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick but was then switched to Parnell Park, Dublin when it was discovered that the Limerick hurling side required the former venue for a training session in advance of today's All-Ireland decider against Waterford.

But just when everyone had set their focus on the alternative venue the fixture was again switched, at a couple of hours notice would you believe, this time to Croke Park as an aperitif to the Mayo v Tipperary All-Ireland football Semi-Final.

I thought that the pre-match alterations sent out a poor message in relation to ladies' football.

Understandably, a number of Ladies' Association officials were none too pleased but the game went ahead with Cork coming out on top.

While for the most part all's well that ends well, I think that on this occasion the competing teams were not quite shown respect.

They were forced to make long journeys to Dublin and reservations were made in relation to the toing and froing that surrounded the game.

I thought it was ironic given it was only a matter of days previously that it became known efforts are being made to unite the Gaelic Players' Association and the Ladies' Gaelic Football body.

For some time now the ladies' game has prospered and although Covid-19 impacted on the fixture list of late, nevertheless the Final of the flagship competition, the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, will take place at Croke Park next weekend when Dublin take on Cork in an 'old firm' meeting that is triggering real interest.

Ladies' football is one of the real growth sports in Ireland as a whole and what happened last weekend does not reflect particularly well on it.

I don't think the ladies' game is getting the kudos it deserves and I honestly feel on the basis of what took place that its merger with the men's body cannot come soon enough.

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