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Pat Spillane: Con O’Callaghan will be a big addition, but Dubs need to sort out defence

CONTRARY to what is likely to be anticipated, I’ve no intention of driving the ultimate nail within the Dublin soccer coffin at the moment.

‘m on document as predicting that Dublin won’t win the All-Ireland this 12 months.

But I nonetheless consider they are going to be within the final 4 within the race.

Actually, the league wasn’t a complete washout for Dublin. Lee Gannon (inset under) and Cian Murphy did sufficient to indicate they’re able to competing at this stage.

Collectively, the gamers confirmed commendable spirit within the final 20 minutes in Clones, when hauling themselves again right into a recreation which regarded past them.

On a broader stage, taking part in in Division 2 – offered they safe promotion subsequent spring – may show helpful as they proceed to rebuild the crew.

I do not anticipate James McCarthy, Jonny Cooper or Mick Fitzsimons to characteristic subsequent season, so extra newcomers should be blooded.

Meanwhile, Dublin has points to deal with earlier than this 12 months’s championship.

Firstly, their aura of invincibility is gone.

Opponents sense blood and go for the jugular, reasonably than being content material to maintain the margin of defeat down.

Dublin’s defence is a shambles, as evidenced by the concession of 11 targets within the league.

Stephen Cluxton was all the time going to be missed and so they have been unlucky that Evan Comerford was lacking final Sunday.

Michael Shiel had a meltdown together with his kick-outs, and two of Dublin’s most skilled defenders, Fitzsimons and Cooper, had nightmare video games.

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Luke Fahy of Cork in motion towards Johnny Moloney of Offaly

The latter has misplaced a yard of tempo, and I do not assume he’s cellular sufficient to fill the centre-back function.

And crew captain McCarthy did not assist the trigger by getting despatched off.

Their lack of ability to transform their goalscoring probabilities is proving expensive.

On common, they’ve butchered three probabilities per recreation throughout the league, wherein they managed to attain simply two targets from open play.

This is an ongoing difficulty, as they scored just one purpose from open play within the 2021 Championship.

Finally, the Sky Blues’ key gamers are battling their type.

Brian Fenton is under his greatest; Brian Howard has been a peripheral determine in some matches; and Ciarán Kilkenny has been held scoreless in his final two video games.

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Brian Fenton of Dublin has not been at his greatest

The return of Con O’Callaghan might be a giant addition, however the Dubs have to work on their decision-making and type out their defensive system.

The message is that Dublin are nonetheless respiration, however, as I mentioned on the outset, there might be no All-Ireland title for them in 2022.

Overall, Super Sunday exceeded all expectations.

Even Steven Spielberg would have had his work minimize out to give you a extra thrilling script.

Three of the 4 Division 1 video games have been received by a single level.

And the drama wasn’t confined to the highest flight both.

In what was successfully a Division 2 relegation play-off Offaly have been some extent up and secure going into damage time. Two late factors saved Cork as a substitute.

The hype of the U-20 All-Ireland success final season, Shane Lowry’s monetary backing and the high-profile recruitment of coach Tomás Ó Sé at the moment are a distant reminiscence of fine instances for Offaly.

They found three issues this spring: the hole between U-20 and senior, the gulf between Division 2 and three, and the distinction between the conditioning of gamers from the highest 12 counties and the remaining are all important.

The conditioning deficit can’t be rectified in a season. It is a three- to five-year challenge, so Offaly followers should be affected person.

Cork needed to win their final two league video games to remain in Division 2.

They confirmed nice character to just do that – and final Sunday their senior gamers offered management when it mattered.

Though I’m a Kerryman, I understand how a lot the Munster Championship – and soccer generally – wants a county of Cork’s measurement to be competing on the prime stage.

Two different ideas struck me concerning the competitors.

I can not fathom why Kerry have been the one crew actually involved in reaching the Division 1 closing.

The composition of the divisions for the 2023 league places paid to the notion that success in soccer is solely pushed to inhabitants.

Leinster, probably the most populated province, has no crew in Division 1 whereas the least populated, Connacht, has three.

Not alone is Dublin, by far probably the most populated county in Ireland, not taking part in within the prime flight however 4 of the so-called commuter counties round it – Kildare, Wicklow, Laois and Offaly – have been all relegated.

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