Collie Moran: There's an aura around this Dublin team
Dublin can equal Kerry's record of consecutive league and Championship wins with success in Tralee this weekend14:08 Wednesday 15 March 2017, 14:08 15 Mar 2017
Dublin travel to Tralee this weekend in the hopes of making history.
Not that this is anything new to this Dublin side. They have won four of the last six All-Ireland titles and Jim Gavin's men delivered the county's first back-to-back success since the late 1970s. This is a different breed of Dublin footballer.
The reigning All-Ireland champions have gone unbeaten in 33 League and Championship games, with an unprecedented 34th on the horizon. To get it in The Kingdom would make it all the sweeter.
"They’re usually great games and two teams tend to go at it," former Dublin football captain Collie Moran tells Newstalk.com. "We are talking about two of the top teams in the country and psychologically Kerry would love a league win over Dublin.
"When you go back to 2010 and Dublin went to Killarney with Pat Gilroy, Dublin hadn’t beaten Kerry in years in the League in nearly a decade. They certainly hadn't beaten them in Kerry for a long, long time before that.
"It may have looked a pretty innocuous game under Pat Gilroy, but I think it was a very important one. I think it was the start of the trend that we’ve seen in recent years. Kerry will be determined to end Dublin’s good run."
Dublin's sharp upward curve has contrasted with Kerry who have sought to find players the ilk of Colm Cooper, Kieran Donaghy and Aidan O'Mahony to come into the squad. Their's has not been a plight, with All-Ireland success in 2009 and 2014 under current manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice.
Dublin rallied in the second half to beat Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final, en route to a second consecutive All-Ireland crown. Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne
But Moran admits that there's something about this current Dublin team.
"Dublin are on a really incredible unbeaten run. You look at the Tyrone game. For years when I was playing, Tyrone had the psychological advantage over us and Kerry did as well. In the League game against Tyrone this year, Tyrone were in a winning position, but Dublin never gave up, hung in there and clawed them back.
"Maybe Tyrone didn’t have the confidence or the belief to push on and go that extra yard to get the victory. But for years Dublin were narrow losers to them or to Kerry, it’s over the last few years Dublin have been getting the better of them.
"There’s an aura around this Dublin team at the moment.
"They’re mentally strong and even when things go wrong they feel like they can get back into the game. The best example of that is last year’s All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry when they conceded two pretty bad goals. They managed to come back after half-time and win that game. I think they have a psychological edge that plays on their opponents minds as well."
Moran pointed to their performance against Mayo as proof that Dublin are finally beginning to find their rhythm after draws against Ulster opposition Donegal and Tyrone.
"The performance from Dublin was very convincing. When you look at Mayo through this league campaign, they’re looking to find one or two new forwards, but if anything, it’s Dublin who already have an abundance of forward talent. And they seem to be adding to that.
"Conor McHugh scored 1-3 and has shown well so far. Niall Scully who has started in the O’Byrne Cup campaign when the rest of the squad were away on holiday, has continued his good run of form and has performed very well in the league.
"They’re unbeaten in their four league games. They’re coming back as All-Ireland champions and have had a long season last year - they won the league and had the All-Ireland final replay which added an extra two weeks onto the season. It was inevitable that they wouldn’t hit the ground running.
"But it’s always these last rounds of the league where you really see the big boys starting to produce something that’s near to their real or best form."
And with the All-Ireland creeping up, are there any teams in the running to stop Dublin's drive for a first three in-a-row since 1923.
"Tyrone are certainly on an upward curve, but I’d have a little bit of concern regarding their fire power. Have they enough scoring forwards to deliver for them on the really big days in Croke Park?
"Certainly they are a formidable team. They have that great work-rate back and they’re hitting teams on the counter-attack. They can be very difficult to break down.
"Kerry are a work in progress. It’s great to see James O’Donoghue back and in really good form. He’s had injury troubles in the past, but he’s beginning to look really sharp again. Paul Geaney is one of the top inside forwards in the country at the moment.
"They have some good Under-21 and minor teams for the last few years, so perhaps there is something there that Eamonn Fitzmaurice can find to give them a bit of a boost. I still expect them to be very competitive this summer."
Dublin and Kerry throw in this Saturday at 7pm.
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