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Jim McGuinness Outlines His Strategy For How Dublin Can Be Beaten In This Year's Championship

Jim McGuinness Outlines His Strategy For How Dublin Can Be Beaten In This Year's Championship
By PJ Browne
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Ask a Dublin footballer and they'll say the thought of winning two consecutive All-Irelands hasn't been broached in the dressing room. It's hard to believe that line though. If Dublin do win the All-Ireland, they'll be the first team since Kerry in 2007 to win two All-Irelands in a row. Victory would almost certainly confirm them as the team of the decade. How would you not contemplate it?

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It is hard to see Dublin being beaten this year. To win the football championship, they are currently just 11/10 with the bookies. Kerry lag several lengths behind as second favourites at 3/1 and given the league final scoreline, it's easy to understand why.


Dublin can be beaten though, that's according to the last manager to do so in the championship.

In 2014, Jim McGuinness masterminded a six-point win for Donegal against Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final. Writing in the Irish Times a number of weeks back, he named the teams he believes have the capability of beating Dublin. At the launch of Sky Sports' 2016 GAA coverage on Friday, he explained (via the Irish Sun) how those teams can pull off that unexpected victory.

A question was asked of Dublin in 2014.

They came back in 2015 and answered that question. The answer was their centre-back. He filled a void for me.

He gave them a structure defensively, ‘You’re not going to penetrate us any more, we’re not going to concede goals, we’re going to be difficult to beat’.

But they also retained a lot of the offensive stuff — their kick-outs, their transition to attack, their kicking game.

Teams must look at that and say, ‘They’ve made that shift, how do we make a shift to beat that?’

McGuinness believes the key cog in the Dublin machine is Cian O'Sullivan and that Mayo, in particular, are capable of recreating the upset we saw in August of 2014.

For me, Mayo had a very good opportunity last year. They had Barry Moran, who’s 6ft 4in or 6ft 5in, and Aidan O’Shea — two massive men who would need marking inside, so that carries a goal threat.

The team that beats Dublin will need a very good No 11 who can get on the ball, dictate the pace of the game, score points and make incisions.

You’ve got to pull O’Sullivan out of position and if you pull him out of position and he doesn’t pick up, that guy has got to get the ball. And when he gets the ball, he’s got to have the capacity to do damage.

If he’s doing that and fires it on the diagonal and you have two massive men in there, with maybe a Cillian O’Connor coming on the loop, then you’ve got an aerial threat inside, a quality forward on the loop and a No 11 who’s dictating that space.

Space that he was very comfortable in last year isn’t there.

You need a very intelligent, structured game-plan and you need very good players to carry it out.

Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

[Irish Sun]

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