Countless mentions of the absence of Rory O’Carroll and Jack McCaffrey were making more column inches than Dublin’s success without the two All Stars from the previous campaign.
With this and the added hole left by James McCarthy it was if the media wanted Dublin to fail. But come 8:00pm this past Saturday, all of those questions, and more had been answered without hesitation.
“I thought we did extremely well,” Johnny Cooper confidently told the Herald.
“When somebody tells you…or when there’s a perception out there that…we’re competitive guys, so naturally enough you’ll go after what people see as a weakness on our behalf.”
McMahon, Byrne, O’Sullivan, Small, Kilkenny and Copper himself put in an immense shift in the Dublin defence, stifling almost all of Donegal’s attacking strategy.
It was very apparent at the weekend that Dublin have made massive strides in their all round game plan. And to be fair it was probably the first time this year they’ve been required to put this plan into action.
“We went into it with our eyes open. 2014 was a learning curve for us. So we tried to bring those learnings into the match and again, that bit of defensive structure to try and curtail that threat.”
And curtail they did. Donegal did break on a countless occasions, and apart from being caught out by Ryan McHugh’s palmed goal in the 44th minute, Dublin managed to soak it all up and looked quite comfortable in the process. And Cooper praised his defensive colleagues for it.
“Any ball that went into them…by and large, off the top of my head, I can’t think of any goal chances that came off that high ball.”
For now thoughts will turn to August 28th and a mouth watering fixture with Kerry.
The kingdom have not been too successful against Dublin of late but as we know the championship is full of spanner ready to be thrown into the works. Recent results will probably have no bearing on the upcoming Semi Final.
“I suppose that’s in the history books, those results already. That’s for people to weigh up and judge whatever way they want,” Cooper stressed.
“But from our point of view, it’s just about looking at them now in a couple of weeks time.