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World Domination’ ? Think Again! It’s official: world domination beckons for the Dublin footballers. So it has been claimed in certain quarters after we became the first county to win back-to-back All-Irelands since Kerry in 2007, with Jim Gavin feted as the first manager to retain Sam Maguire since Billy Morgan in 1990. Do our historic trailblazers and their manager deserve the high praise heaped on their shoulders since 1st October? Without question - they are a credit to our county and themselves. But I have an issue with the more extravagant hyperbole that tends to greet most All-Ireland champions, and more especially, a team that has garnered four of the last six SFC titles. And it’s this: all this talk of Dublin domination could strengthen the argument (a nebulous one, I believe) that something radical must be done to “stop them”. We’re not even talking about splitting the capital in two – thankfully that canard has been buried in the dustbin of daft ideas.
There is much talk of funding equalisation in the GAA, how the finances at our disposal must be curbed to “level the playing field”. But this presupposes that Dublin GAA is awash with cash (we aren’t) or that you could slash our funding from central coffers without any negative effect. At the most basic level, this is about jobs - that funding is diverted to coaches operating at the juvenile and club coalface throughout the county. Let me stress, I fully support efforts to bolster the central funding available to so-called weaker counties – they aren’t blessed with some of the advantages that Dublin possess and they need help. However, it behoves Croke Park to find ways and means of generating more resources, instead of settling for a division of the same cake. Put bluntly, extra funding for other counties should not come at the direct expense of Dublin’s games development initiatives. Bleed that well dry and it won’t be long before soccer and rugby make inroads back into terrain that Dublin GAA has fought, tooth and nail, to colonise in the first place. I’ll finish with a few statistics that might modify your viewpoint about Dublin’s alleged supremacy. There has been much talk of how we’ve monopolised the Leinster SFC since 2005, winning 11 of the last 12 provincial titles, and I cannot argue with the stats. But our record at under-21 and, especially minor level, is far less emphatic. In that same period (2005-16) Dublin have won just four Leinster minor championships ('09, '11, '12 and '14), failing to reach the last two provincial finals, and harvesting just one All-Ireland (2012). Our record at under-21 level is more impressive – seven of the last 12 Leinster titles, and three All-Ireland successes in 2010, '12 and '14 – but we have failed to reach the last two AllIreland finals. Suffice to say, there are plenty of ambitious players and managers in other counties who have tasted underage success against us. They will be desperate to emulate that feat in the senior grade. Moreover, if you consider Dublin’s victory margins in this year’s All-Ireland series (five points against Donegal, two against Kerry and just one against Mayo, after a replay) you could hardly say we are streets ahead of the chasing pack. No All-Ireland is easily won. Next year’s certainly won’t be.