There are shards of light for those in pursuit of Dublin, believes Peter Canavan. That light is shining through cracks in the Dublin machine.
"When I say cracks, they’re hairline cracks," the three-time All-Ireland winner told Balls at the launch of Sky Sports' coverage of the 2018 Championship.
"You have to be optimistic and it’s a massive challenge for other teams. Eamonn Fitzmaurice, Mickey Harte, Stephen Rockford will be saying, ‘Can they maintain that hunger?’"
"When we talk about cracks: the Diarmuid Connolly situation, obviously Jim Gavin is not in total control of that. Of course he would want one of his best players there - for whatever reason, that's not happening. Injuries to key personnel as well has affected them.
"If Dublin were minus one or two key players, I think they can be got at. It’s no different than any other team. Teams have shown that this year."
Dublin's march to four All-Irelands in a row became a little steeper this season with the introduction of the Super Eight. They'll face tougher games and one outside of Croke Park as they aim for a semi-final spot.
Canavan believes those extra games could be of benefit to teams looking to expose those Dublin cracks. Jim Gavin's side will be under the microscope more than ever.
We’re going to get to watch them more often; you’re going to get to analyse them in greater detail. You're going to get to see the weaknesses maybe in greater detail as well.
If the system had remained the way it was, it would have been a remarkable achievement to win four-in-a-row but to win it with this system - with the Super Eight and playing more high level games - you would add to that.
Look, they’re the best teams and no qualms about that but it's going to be a task for them to go back and win it again.
While those faultlines are there, it's going to take an earthquake to open them up.
"At times during the National League when you witnessed them playing without some of their key players, Stephen Cluxton didn't play in one of those matches [the draw against Galway], they looked a different team without him - what happens if he gets injured?
"Brian Fenton, midfield general, best in the country at the minute - what happens if he's not playing? At times, forwards were able to get at their defence.
"Whilst they're the best, the last two years, even though they won it, there was just a kick of the ball between them and Mayo..so, they’re still beatable. They’re the best team, brilliant team, brilliant management but they can be got at."
Throughout the 2018 Championship, Sky Sports will be broadcasting a total of 20 live, and 14 exclusive fixtures of Championship action, which will be available on Sky’s multi-platform offering. Exclusive coverage gets underway with a mouth-watering double-header on June 2nd when 2017 All Ireland Hurling Champions Galway take on Wexford and Cork take on old rivals Limerick in what are bound to be hotly contested fixtures.
For the latest online news go to www.skysports.com/gaa
Picture credit: Sportsfile