Dubs can emerge from Wexford with one foot in decider
DAYS like these are the very ones that could define Dublin’s year. And in fairness, it had been going all a little too smoothly.
Nothing like a deep, intrusive test of your character to see how far the healing process has come along and just how Dublin respond to adversity now will be intriguing.
Lose and a Division 1B league final spot is all but gone. Win and suddenly the Limerick defeat doesn’t seem so bad, especially with a second crack at John Allen’s men the most likely end game.
It’s as simple as that.
Radical improvement is needed. For Dublin, though. It isn’t stretching it to surmise that almost all of Dublin’s players won their individual battles in the first half against Limerick, but they failed to capitalise, butchering a succession of good goal chances before the break.
Bad enough to be well beaten for an entire game, but even more frustrating not to convert dominance into anything tangible.
As it happened, the most culpable party in their goal-shyness was Paul Ryan, but you can bet Anthony Daly would prefer to have him aboard tomorrow in Wexford Park rather than lose his free-taker and most prolific forward to suspension.
On three occasions in the first half, had he taken better options, Dublin might have raised the green flag their performance would have deserved, but he didn’t and Dublin paid the highest imaginable price.
Up front, it was left to Danny Sutcliffe and Conal Keaney to bravely front up and win Alan Nolan’s puck-outs, yet the most alarming shortfall in Dublin’s repertoire was their inability to maintain control of a string of Limerick forwards, albeit good ones at that.
Declan Hannon, Graeme Mulcahy and Kevin Downes scored 1-10 from play between them, thriving in the wide open expanses of Croke Park and if Wexford don’t nearly have the same firebrand type of forward, they have at least the physicality to match Dublin here.
Their loss in Offaly – particularly after surrendering a lead down the home stretch – looked to have put paid to their own promotion hopes, particularly with Limerick to come next weekend, but suddenly, a victory here would mean they have something serious to play for in their final outing.
Lee Chin is missing for Wexford, opting to play football this weekend, while Dublin won’t confirm their team until just prior to throw-in due to a couple of niggling injuries.
For Dublin, with Carlow at home coming and a near certain win there, victory would almost ensure a final berth.
And if they respond positively to that very pressure, they should ensure it.
ODDS: Wexford 9/4, Draw 10/1, Dublin 4/9