Sport | 1 week ago
#The Toughest: We identify the greatest strength of this record-breaking Dublin team?
A serious asset

They say speed kills, it also wins.

If you don't have speed in the modern game, you're really up against it.

Jim Gavin's all conquering Dublin side are in hot pursuit of a third successive Sam Maguire this year, and speed has been at the heart of their relentless dominance of the Gaelic football landscape.

The Dubs' immediate focus will be on raising a seventh straight Leinster Championship this Sunday, when they meet Kildare in GAA HQ, and the Lilywhites will have their work cut out to deal with the searing speed of the Sky Blues.

Kildare have had an impressive Championship run to the final, with comprehensive triumphs over Laois and Meath, but Sunday will be the real acid test to see how far Cian O'Neill's men have come.

One of their most difficult tasks on Sunday will be coping with the blinding fleet footedness of Dublin.

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In the modern game, you have to be quick off the mark to win a ball ahead of your marker. When you win the ball you have to be quick to get away from your opponents in order to give yourself time to do the right thing.

The majority of Dublin's players are frighteningly quick off the mark and this is just so hard for opposing teams to defend against.

Each one of the Dubs - particularly in defence - is as quick as the other, and there's always one of them running off the shoulder at pace to help the other in attack.

Nobody on the Dublin team embodies this frightening pace more than Jack McCaffrey, but he's ably supported by his team-mates.

McCaffrey regularly cuts through opponents like a knife through butter with his searing acceleration and direct running.

He's not the only one, though. Ballymun Kickham's club man James McCarthy is one of the most powerful runners in the game with his long, loping stride and his unfailing willingness to run with the ball.

It's not all about their movement in possession, however, these lads don't give their opponents an inch to create space when they're looking for the ball. When they get the ball they're under such ferocious pressure that they're invariably forced into a mistake.

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Jonny Cooper is quick, Michael Fitzsimons is no slouch, nor is Eric Lowndes in defence.

Ciaran Kilkenny is like a scalded cat when he takes off, even though he does so running across the field regularly. Paul Mannion is nippy off the mark, while Kevin McManamons short, choppy strides are also effective.

Former Dublin manager Paul 'Pillar' Caffrey was speaking at The GAA Hour Live in Newbridge on Thursday night when he revealed his amazement at the collective pace that Jim Gavin's men possess.

"They are very much geared towards Croke Park. The pace that this team have. I've never seen it in any Dublin team. I've never seen the natural pace that the likes of James McCarthy, Jonny Cooper, Jack McCaffrey and the likes of Paul Mannion have.

"It's frightening how quick they are, like all these players are the fastest players on their club teams and there's just an era of massive pace," according to the Na Fianna club man.

There's no place for slow coaches in the modern game and Dublin are a testament to this.

Brought to you by AIB, proudly backing Club & County. Follow AIB GAA on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

While you're here...


Watch Wooly, Lar Corbett, Ronan O'Gara, Dion Fanning, Conor Sketches and Carlow's Endline Challenge on SportsJOE Live Episode 19.


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GAA, AIB GAA, Dublin GAA