Should Dublin win a fourth All-Ireland in five years later this afternoon, we face a familiar winter of wondering to what we can ascribe Dublin's dominance. Is this a freakishly talented group of players under one of the great coaches, or is it the logical conclusion of their abundance of resources?
The truth is probably a combination of all of these, but it is a question posed in today's Sunday Business Post. Ewan MacKenna has a very interesting piece looking at how Dublin are reaping the rewards of their investment in coaching, while Barry J. White asks Pat Gilroy about Dublin's superior playing resources.
It's a lengthy interview that's well worth a read, in which Gilroy argues against Dublin's population advantage. White puts it to Gilroy that the county surely enjoy a natural advantage with a population of 1.3 million. The ex-Dublin manager knocks it back by saying that the percentage of those able to play for Dublin is significantly smaller, given that many of those playing club football in Dublin have a loyalty to the counties they call home.
Here's the relevant line:
The 1.3 million is a complete nonsense because in truth - and I don't know the precise figures - but at best 500,000 of those would be considered to play for Dublin.
We've only 32 senior clubs, and most of the players come from senior clubs. And I guarantee you in every club there's at least seven of their panel who won't play for Dublin. My own club would be renowned for having mostly Dublin but there's seven of that panel are either Mayo or Sligo or wherever they're from.
That's a difficulty. When you're managing Dublin teams you go out and look at them - I mean, when I started out I'd go and say. 'He's really good' but 'yeah, he doesn't want to play for Dublin, he's from Longford or something.
While Gilroy is right about players from other counties playing club football with Dublin, fans from the likes of Sligo and Longford will struggle to sympathise with Gilroy and Dublin on this.
It's a great interview, which you can check out here.