Following this year’s display in the All Ireland Senior Football final, some long shadows had been cast onto some of Dublin’s more experienced players and how they performed.
Questions about the shifts put in by the likes of Bernard Brogan and Paul Flynn have made headlines as Jim Gavin will select his starting line up for this weekend’s must win replay against Mayo.
With the emphasis on column inches favoring Bernard Brogan, purely based on a return this year that is stark in contrast to previous championship campaigns, you’d wonder how much food for thought this will give the manager.
However it has been recognised that Bernard’s role in the 2016 panel has changed dramatically, and although scoring 1-09 in six championship appearances, the line share of the shooting has been left to others on the field of play.
The argument on Fingallians Paul Flynn is certainly different. One simply can’t measure Paul’s worth based on the tally of green and white flags. Despite his position in the half forward line, Flynn’s value is measured more on yards covered, kick outs won, and turnovers forced.
The idea of Paul Flynn being undroppable has never been threatened, up until last Sunday week. But has an old injury crept back into the tank? Has he been briefed into a more defensive tactic? It’s hard to know based on one game.
Donegal stalwart and former DCU colleague and housemate of Flynn, Michael Murphy, believes the Dublin wing forward will prove the doubters wrong this Saturday and reignite the love affair Dublin’s die hard fans have with him.
“Yeah, without a doubt, I suppose he’s been a mainstay there and I still expect him to play,” Murphy told GAA.ie at a media briefing for the National Concussion Symposium.
“There will be no fella that wants to play better than he does. As a player sometimes you can go through, sometimes not but a lot of the time you are not that far away.
“It’s a break of a ball, it’s a touch of something and you can guarantee there’s no player working harder on his game at the moment than him.
Like Brogan, Flynn’s score return has drastically diminished in 2016 on 0-03 compared to recent years, particularly the 2-06 he tagged in last year championship. But Dublin’s game plan has changed to a more patient build as opposed to Stephen Cluxton accurately hitting long kick outs and targeting players like Paul.
Despite these obvious changes, Murphy still feels Paul Flynn and indeed Bernard Brogan have a lot to give this weekend.
“That’s the quality of players from being up against them, that’s the quality they do bring. A team without either of those if you are looking into it, wouldn’t be a team that’s strong.”
“I would back him to have a massive and very influential game on the next day out, as likewise I would with…I suppose the speculation has been around Bernard Brogan/Paul Flynn, but I would still expect both to play and both to have very good games.
There’s no doubt that Paul has left a positive influence on the Donegal star in his time in Dublin, and it’s thought Michael a lot about his own game.
“He’s a massively committed man, I would have learned a hell of a lot from him in Dublin in terms of how he structures his whole life between football and work and everything,” Murphy commented. “He’s just a mad Dublin player, follower, everything. “