Dublin’s Strength In Depth Has Been One Of The Key Factors For Their Success
With a number of high profile players like Jonny Cooper, Dean Rock and Eoin Murchan unavailable for selection last week Dublin’s strength in depth was once again tested.
In total four of last year’s All Ireland starting team didn’t line out against Louth last Saturday evening.
They were the above mentioned three injured players and Philly McMahon who started on the bench in O’Moore Park.
Most if not all teams around the country would struggle to cope missing a third of their defence and a key forward and main free taker.
But Dublin’s strength in depth has been one of the key factors for their success in the championship this decade. It will be a decisive factor again this campaign in determining the length of their championship run.
The game has long since been solely about the starting team and is now more about the squad. Now the team that finishes a game is now as or more important than the one that starts it.
Having high quality replacements on the bench is paramount, this is where Dublin have had the advantage over the rest.
Last weekend Cormac Costello, Michael Fitzsimons, David Byrne and Darren Gavin were the four players into the side that didn’t start last year’s All Ireland Final.
Costello has been excellent this year with a string of top class performances in the league. He also proved last Saturday that he is more than an able and capable deputy for free taking duties.
Byrne and Fitzsimons were solid as a rock at the back and new addition Gavin held his own in midfield and gained some valuable championship game time, so despite the absentees Dublin weren’t weakened in any way.
Gavin Emptied His Bench And Sent On Multiple All Ireland Winners
Also the quality of the players introduced against Louth during the game further demonstrated Dublin’s strength in depth.
When Jim Gavin decided to empty his bench he sent on multiple All Ireland winners in the shape of Michael Darragh Macauley, Philly McMahon, Kevin McManamon and Rory O’Carroll, plus young guns Paddy Small and Sean Bugler.
Held in reserve where the likes of Bernard Brogan, Eoghan O’Gara, Paddy Andrews and Darren Daly to name a few.
And with Eric Lowndes, Evan Comerford, Jonny Cooper, Eoin Murchan and Dean Rock to return from injury, plus the fact that Jim Gavin has stated he expects to add a couple of new players to the mix, then the Dublin squad is going to get even stronger.
That’s great news for Dublin and their supporters and grim news for the rest.
During a long and tough All Ireland campaign injuries and suspensions can take their toll. Looking over the main contenders for the title, Dublin once again look best equipped to absorb the loss of a couple of players due to the sheer strength in depth of their squad.
That doesn’t guarantee All Ireland success, but it certainly gives them more variety of options and cover. That could prove to be the determining factor to September glory once again.