‘You’d have to ask the question, have we been truly tested yet?’ – Farrell on Dublin dominance debate

Updated Dec 8th 2020, 8:03 PM

DESSIE FARRELL BELIEVES the standard of opposition Dublin have faced so far in the championship is a factor that led to the debate on their dominance in the All-Ireland SFC.

After taking the scalp of Westmeath, Laois, Meath and Cavan by an average of 17 points, Dublin are back in their sixth successive final without yet conceding a goal. 

It led to fears that their supremacy in Leinster, where they haven’t lost a game since 2010, will continue to play out on the national stage.

Former Sky Blues manager Pat Gilroy joined Meath boss Andy McEntee on The Sunday Game at the weekend for a discussion on how the issue should be addressed.

Ahead of the All-Ireland final against Mayo on Saturday week, Farrell said the departures of Jim Gavin, Jack McCaffrey and Diarmuid Connolly might have led to a belief that Dublin would come back towards the pack, while also pointing out the level of their opponents so far.

“When I looked at it, I tried to think, ‘Where is it coming from?’ Like, it’s always been there but it’s more particularly pronounced in the last couple of weeks.

“It may be a sense that with Jim and the management team gone and a couple of players, Jack and Diarmuid Connolly, that there probably may have been an expectation that Dublin having won five and this is the sixth year and would there be a wane in the appetite?

“Then with Covid and the disruption, there’s a lot of change that has happened and probably with that there was some expectation that you may see a dip in Dublin’s performance.

“You’d have to ask the question, have we been truly tested yet? When you think about it, we’ve played a team that has been relegated from Division 1, we’ve played two teams in Division 2 and a team that has been relegated from Division 2 to Division 3.

“That’s not being disrespectful to any opposition but it’s the obvious thing and it’s been put to us and it’s been put to me, has this Dublin team been tested yet? I think people need to sort of weigh that or factor that into the discussion at the minute because it could be a very different discussion that’s being had after Saturday week.

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“But I think that might be fuelling some of the discussion then, that there’s a little bit of frustration or anger or disappointment from others in relation to that, that this dip hasn’t actually appeared. The reason I think it hasn’t appeared is because the team have obviously applied themselves really, really well and have performed really well.” 

He also admitted it was hard not to pay attention to the debate in the media.

“It’s been interesting. On the one hand you’re obviously trying not to engage in it because it can become a distraction and there’s enough to be getting on with.

“On the other hand it’s hard to ignore it because it comes up in conversation and while I do my best to be disciplined around reading stuff and engaging in social media and that, obviously it was interesting to see that it got a platform on the Sunday Game the other night.”

First published today at 18.06

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