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Stick or twist? | Dublin's defence, Kerry's quiet confidence | Anthony Moyles

Ryan Clarke
Ryan Clarke

02:51 10 Sep 2019


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One of the enduring plot points during Dublin’s Drive for Five has been the strength of Jim Gavin's bench.

If a game isn’t going according to management’s masterplan, the narrative goes that the players on the bench will ensure nothing deviates from the script.

After the drawn All-Ireland final against Kerry, perhaps that plot device has been put to bed.

Speaking on Tuesday’s OTB AM, Anthony Moyles thinks that Dublin are so thin in defence that they can’t afford to make any changes.

“I can’t see any [changes],” he said.

Before going on to explain Dublin’s dearth of defensive options.

“They’re so thin in defence that I think they’re going to have to go with the same men and just rejig the positional switches,” the former Meath captain said.

With question marks around the fitness of Brian Fenton and Michael Darragh MacAuley not performing to his highest in the drawn match, Moyles says he may be under pressure to retain his place.

“I don’t think [MacAuley] had his best day, he was ponderous on the ball and Kerry did really well tackling him from behind.

“I know people are saying Fenton was injured and if it was a back injury you would hope he’s back to 100 per cent. 

“Dublin won’t be as bad there … so McCarthy could find himself in midfield and then you could have a situation where you have draft someone in,” he added.

Cian O’Sullivan would be the preferred option to play the sweeper role but his fitness is also unknown at this point. That leaves Eoin Murchan as the only clear choice to come into the team.

“I think Kerry would be quietly confident that if he started they could do a plan and try to get him isolated in that full-back line.

“Which would obviously play to Kerry’s advantage due to Murchan’s height disadvantage,” Moyles said.

On the other side, Moyles expects Kerry to twist rather than stick with their original starting XV.

“I think Kerry will change it. I don’t think Gavin White will start the next day, I think [Killian] Spillane will come in and what they may do is; deploy O’Brien on McCaffrey.

“They may start him in the half-forward line but just deploy him on McCaffrey and do a very similar role to what Durcan did for Mayo on him.

“They have to go man-to-man on McCaffrey and I wouldn’t be surprised if they put the other [Adrian] Spillane into the forward line, and/or Jack Barry to have a bit more of a kick out presence,” he explained.

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