Supporters in the stand in Belfast yesterday were commenting on Dublin’s short game and how it was playing into the hands of Antrim. I spoke to both Jim Nelson and Terence Mc Naughton and they were amused by this short game tactic. Dublin had a really good full forward line yesterday in Paul Ryan, Danny Sutcliffe and Dotsy O’ Callaghan. Eventhough Dublin were playing with a strong wind these three forwards were left twiddling their thumbs while our defence were playing a game of possession hurling. Sometimes this possession game broke down and gave Antrim a chance to stay in the game. The two first half goals came from long balls from Peter Kelly to Paul Ryan and Michael Carton’s 100 yard strike went all the way to the net. This should have convinced the defence that the long ball was the best tactic but it did not and they reverted back to the possession game again. When Conal Keaney was moved to centre back in the second half he delivered quick long balls to the forwards and it made a difference.
If Dublin want to progress this year and win a national title they need to be able to adjust their tactics and game plan to suit the occasion. The short game should only be used if the player in possession is in trouble. A good centre back line should be scoring a few points a game between them. When Anthony Daly was in the Clare half back line with Seanie McMahon and Liam Doyle they got on the scoreboard almost everyday and I am not talking about frees here.
On a very positive note Dublin’s preparation before the game was very professional. Dublin were on the field almost forty minutes before the start of the game and did a series of warm up exercises and some skill drills. The players were well prepared for the game.
The Limerick game will be the biggest test so far for our team. They will need to up their performance again. I have no doubt that they can do it as they are a serious bunch of players and have set themselves high targets for 2013.
Tóg go bog é.