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The Breathtakingly Simple Things That Took 1974 Dubs From Minnows To Champs In A Year

The Breathtakingly Simple Things That Took 1974 Dubs From Minnows To Champs In A Year
By Balls Team

To break their All-Ireland duck, Tyrone had to smother Kerry in a blanket, Donegal had to invent a method of playing charmingly known as 'the system', while Galway had to get their sub-goalkeeper to do a fly on the wall documentary. It's all very scientific.

How different it was back in the glorious 1970s?

Dublin barely won a match from the mid-1960s and 1973. They even lost twice to Longford in 1968 and 1970 (no shame in that).

Dublin corner back Gay O'Driscoll played for Dublin for a number of years before 1974, without any of his work colleagues knowing about it.

Their journey from perennial whipping boys who lost in the first round every year to All-Ireland champions seems barely creditable these days.

An achievement of that magnitude in 2015 would require some whizz kid genius manager developing some entirely new method of playing the game, probably on a blackboard.

What did Dublin do to become champions in 1974? Well, they did two simple and seemingly contradictory things. They became the fittest team in Ireland and they recalled Jimmy Keaveney.

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The late Kevin Heffernan explained the strategy in typically pithy fashion:

We resolved that we were going to become the fittest team in Ireland. Now, it wasn't very hard to do that in those day.

This was particularly worthwhile in the first half of the 1970s, for many people forget that matches were actually 80 minutes long in that era. They had been upped from 60 minutes to 80 and then it was quietly decided that this was an overreach and they pulled it back to the happy medium of 70.

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How straightforward it was in the days before GPS monitors?

Read more: AUDIO: The Dublin Players' DJ In Chief At The Boar's Head Is An Unsurprising Figure

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