Leinster SFC Final 2017, Dublin v Kildare, Croke Park, Sunday July 16th, 4pm


Are we likely to see both playing together again? Think a half forward line of Connolly, Kilkenny and O’Callaghan is the future, whenever it starts and for however long.


Very harsh to drop Mick Fitzsimons. But Small, more so than Lowdnes, is a starter I feel, and after that, depending on midfield, it gets tough to choose…


A bit unfair to MF, I think he’s been very solid for us over the last few years. If the only black mark was the late goal against Kildare? If we can start both him and Johnny Cooper, I’d go with that.


Very strong argument for lowndes.


Some players just don’t have to play their way back in and I think Philly, Small and Cooper are in that bracket. But these things are always if we had a full pick type things and it’s rare enough these days.


People seem to be noticing a weakness in the middle of the defence in the last couple of games. Is it just coincidence that Can has been moved full back?


On performance Cian would miss out . He’s not having a good year


Lads the way I saw it was CO’S and JS were following Flynn and Kelly wherever they went. Particularly in JS case when Kelly roamed wide/deep. This you would imagine was the instructions given to them with the intention of trying to nullify two key men in the oppositions attack. This is where the holes appeared.
When we have looked most solid as a defensive unit post 2014 it’s because our centre back (generally CO’S) has stationed himself just on front of full back. A luxury afforded to us as a result of teams not playing with 6 forwards in our half of field. Unlikely anyone but Kerry, and maybe Mayo, will approach us like this for remainder of summer. But something we’ll have to counter


Id be a lot more comfortable if Kerry or Mayo or anybody for that matter went man on man with us. Yes we’ll lose a few battles, yes we’ll give up a big score, but I’m more than confident that we’ll outscore any team in a shootout as we’ve done regularly when it happens. However the last two matches will be warning to everyone else and I don’t believe Kerry or Mayo will leave 6 defenders against our 6. We scored 6-52 in our last 2 games. I don’t care who it was against. 6-52. Bring it on


I think no one is disputing that but COS didn’t do too well on Flynn IMO and he has been given that same role in the last two outings and also seemed to be struggling. I would rather Mick Fitz as he did on McManus in the league or Jamesy if it is someone like Michael Murphy and Cooper for someone like Geaney do this role. I think the options we have if going to man mark is push up on the opposition for their kick outs and take the risk on competing around the middle with breaking the ball where I expect if we are pushed up on the opposition should have enough personnel around the midfield to win the majority of these. When we don’t win them focus on stopping quick ball forward, giving us a chance to get set. In 2014 Donegal got us with balls to Gallagher bypassing midfield and he playing on to McHugh or someone else bombing forward from the backs or playing it quickly in to full forward. If we push up then we do it as a unit and stop runs in the opposition half.


Sound man


If there is a need to shore up the centre of the defence I think it will be done. But if a team is going man to man Gavin is confident we will outscore them.


If we are to come up against Kerry (Geaney, Donaghy ans JOD) i dont think Lowndes plays. He is an attacking defender not a sticky corner back that you need against the likes of Geaney and JOD. Due to the way Tyrone play you could probably afford him in the full back line but it’s horses for courses I feel.


I think Gavin didn’t have too worry too much for the last 3 games as he knew we would outscore the opposition and this allowed him try different formations.Hence he had the luxury of trying Jamesie in midfield and Cian man marking. With Lowndes and Jack now attacking if Cian loses his man or James is too far upfront we leave a hole down the middle if there is a turnover , But you could argue Jim is willing to take that chance in the pursuit of playing attacking football.
I think a game against Tyrone if it comes to pass will be very different, In a game like that Cian will be very important for us as a sweeper , maybe I’m wrong but I’d expect James in the half back line. Flynner,Mdmc or Dermo will be in at the expense of Scully (who has done little wrong, but I feel in a big game this year might be a little bit early) Scully might start buto will be in Jim’s mind the one to make way.


The gaps down the middle looked bad, but I think that will only happen if a team decides they want to play an open game, the difference now to back in 2014 is that we have also shown that when necessary we have the patience to sit back and take points if a team does not want to play. I said before the game that is is now a dilema how to play us, we have become fairly decent at both styles.


I think people here would want to look carefully again at what happened last Sunday with their goal chances. We had bodies there (unlike 2014) but simple movement and change of angles caught us out - quite naively mostly. Mind you we did the exact same to their backline and scored two goals. But to me the huge problem is we are not tracking the runners … we are just not being intelligent - and obviously the communication is not what it should be either.


I’m not sure on that one P. I rewatched it and a better side would expect 3 goals on what we gave up. I’d be worried about it, even more so than midfield as Flynn and Connolly could shore that centre 8 up. But give Kerry or Tyrone what we gave Kildare and we are in serious trouble imo.

The real question is who will take us on and occupy all our defenders? It’s the key to beating us but also potentially getting filleted too. The game is based so much on runners now I’m not sure any team going man v man could legally prevent issues in the middle.

We are not talking about a lack of pace here with Dublin in covering back. We have it in spades but one player wrong side could spell disaster.


Even though you say you disagree, you seem to be agrèeing. I dont think those gaps would have been so blatant had it not been for the fact that Kildare decided to give it a go. If you do that it is at your peril and as much as the pundits want to say the Kildare made a game of it, they still lost by nine points and we were not flattered by the scoreline either.


I am reasonably sure we can adapt the game plan to the opposition. If we can do it well enough though I am not sure. As Dub09 says we did not track runners on Sunday and that is more of a players fault then a systems fault. I always think that was the core issues with the hammerings we got against Tyrone and Kerry in 08 and 09, guys were allowed run from deep and cut us open. I always assumed that was why Whelan and Ryan found themselves out of favour faster then anyone expected. A centre half back in particular is made look very bad if players are allowed run through all around him. It may just be a case that you can’t have those continuous high speed breaks forward that Fenton and McCarthy do and still expect them to cover at the other end. If we meet Tyrone, and that is only an if - I think Kildare still have a big game in them yet, then Sludden could do all types of damage.

But that is an issue that is there for all to see, and the exposure it got against Kildare should mean it will be tidied up now. What would worry be more then anything is the amount of untried guys in the team. Only two of that starting team on Sunday started the Leinster final that begun the 7 in a row. When the last team to win a 7 in a row in provincials (Kerry) played their 7th final, they had 8 of the team that played in the first final. 8 is probably too many, but two is too few. I know injuries and suspensions have robbed us of players but I think if we go in against a top team without the likes of Cooper, Connolly, Flynn and MDMA (or at an absolute minimum, 2 of that 4), we will not win. Having said that, I don’t think that is the end of the world. In the longer term, I wouldn’t swap our panel for anyone else’s and it may be better to not win this one, and win more in the future. If we win this year, with this amount of player losses, it will be an amazing achievement.


I think we are cutting cloth in Leinster and we have reams of cloth to cut to our measure .
I would be astounded if Gavin now abandons the COS sweeper project following its effectiveness in the last number of years . I accept Bart’s observations that he hasn’t been particularly good this year but he has been on man marking duties in two matches . Heslin and Flynn are really good players and neither completely exposed him .
The last couple of years we have played the percentages with Rock emerging as one of our most important players for his accuracy from frees. I expect we will take the initiative a little more from an attacking point of view this year but again I’d be amazed if we didn’t revert to our All Ireland winning template against better opposition .