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Three things Dublin need to fix - now | Paddy Andrews on The Football Pod

Former Dublin star Paddy Andrews highlighted three of his concerns after watching Dessie Farrell's side outplayed by Armagh in Croke Park at the weekend.

Three things Dublin need to fi...

Three things Dublin need to fix - now | Paddy Andrews on The Football Pod

This week The Football Pod, Paddy Andrews and James O'Donoghue took a deep dive into Dublin's opening day Allianz Leagues defeat to Armagh - what is going wrong for them at the moment?

Kieran McGeeney's Orchard outfit dominated affairs in Croke Park on Saturday night, running out comfortable 2-15 to 1-13 winners in the end.

It leaves Dessie Farrell's Dubs facing into a sell-out trip to Tralee to take on Kerry this coming Saturday evening, knowing a win is essential to get their league campaign up and running.

Former Kerry star James O'Donoghue and ex-Dublin forward Paddy Andrews joined Tommy Rooney on the show this week to dissect what went wrong for the home side.


Andrews said there were a number of valid reasons for the result, but he a few some worrying trends in particular that helped the game get away from the hosts:

Dublin's Defensive Structure

"I thought defensively they [Dublin] lacked structure totally. Armagh scored 2-15, and if you're being honest there were definitely opportunities for another two or three goals at least for Armagh.

"They targeted a full-back line... if you're completely isolated it's very difficult. An isolated full-back line being peppered with balls in is a consequence of what's going on out the pitch.

"Our team at their peak, you'd think of Cian O'Sullivan, John Small, Jonny Cooper, guys who protected that full-back line. For opponents it was very difficult to get at that Dublin full-back line.

"That structure in the defence wasn't there at the weekend."

James took a look at Dublin's six defenders for the 2015 All-Ireland final, the first win of Dublin's historic six in-a-row, where they restricted Kerry to just nine points in the rain - Cluxton, Cooper, O'Carroll, McMahon, McCarthy, O'Sullivan and McCaffrey made up the back-line. O'Donoghue pointed out that it wasn't just their quality that made them so good - it was the communication between them as a set.

Being outworked

"We're talking about structure and organisation - there's no two ways about it - Dublin were completely and utterly outworked on Saturday night as well.

"That's the second point I'm making. I've seen numerous tackle counts, it was completely clear - Armagh had double the amount of tackles and intensity than Dublin had.

"Even if guys are one-on-one inside... they've no chance if there's no pressure on the ball. I'm looking at [Rory] Grugan and Jarly Óg Burns and these guys, they have three or four seconds, 50-yards out to put these passes in.

"There should not be two seconds on the ball, never mind four or five. And that's a massive thing as well. There was just a lethargy to Dublin's play."

Sticking with the same attacking plan.

"Dublin are playing passively on the ball when they're on the attack. They haven't really evolved their attacking game plan in three or four years.

"What was working in the 2018, 2019 finals - we were very methodical in how we played. It suited the players we had, we knew exactly what we were trying to do. We were going to keep the ball, and you could say it was boring, it was patience on the ball.

"Everyone was on the same page... working the ball to [Paul] Mannion, Dean [Rock], Bernard [Brogan], Con [O'Callaghan] or whoever it was, and we'll take three minutes to do that.

"Or if that doesn't work we have Jack McCaffrey or James McCarthy or Brian Fenton coming through like a train. That style suited the players we had, and we mastered it.

"Dublin haven't really changed that - they're doing the same thing now with a completely different set of players than four years ago! It's passive, there are no risks being taken.

"Teams figure this out! There needs to be innovation, there needs to be evolution all the time."

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Read more about

Allianz Leagues Armagh Croke Park Dessie Farrell Dublin Dublin GAA James O'donoghue Kerry National League Off The Ball Paddy Andrews The Football Pod Tommy Rooney Tralee Tyrone