Numbers point to Dublin footballers keeping a firm grip on Sam Maguire

Numbers point to Dublin footballers keeping a firm grip on Sam Maguire

Niall Scully of Dublin with the Sam Maguire Cup after beating Mayo last weekend. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Dublin 29 Mayo 18. You're probably wondering what those numbers relate to following Dublin’s six-a-row at the weekend.

Is it the number of All-Irelands won by either county? It could be Dublin’s, but certainly not Mayo’s.

Maybe it’s a stat from the final, like scoring chances, balls won on turn-overs or chances created. 

What those figures do represent is the size of the backroom teams in either county.

Yep, Dublin have 29 men (no woman listed) undertaking a variety of roles, ranging from specialist coaches to cameraman to media manager. It breaks down like this.

5: Coaches, including performance development, goalkeeper, and gym development.

4: Selectors, including manager Dessie Farrell.

4: Analysts.

3: Physios.

2: Kitmen.

2: Performance consultants.

2: Doctors.

2: Sports therapists.

2: Nutritionists.

1: Media manager.

1: Camerman.

1: Logistician.

It’s just further proof of the professionalism that the Dubs have helped developed since Jim Gavin took the reins initially.

They are so far ahead of the chasing pack that a seventh Sam Maguire beckons next summer, when Dublin defend a title that could be the shortest reign of any champion side, though unlikely.

The bookies quote them 1/2 to retain their crown and extend that incredible run of victories, with Kerry next at 4/1 and Mayo and Galway at 12s.

Aidan O'Shea fell short against Dublin yet again. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Aidan O'Shea fell short against Dublin yet again. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Mayo’s backroom team is a bit lighter numerically, but they include one coach for Values and Behaviours with former keeper Ger Cafferkey listed as the incumbent in that category.

Dublin players are sure to dominate the end-of-season awards, too, with nine of them making the RTÉ Best 15, along with the lone Munster player, Tipperary captain Conor Sweeney, at full-forward.

The Man-of-the-Match award went to Con O’Callaghan, much of it for the unselfish off-camera work to show for the ball and create scoring opportunities for others.

But, the Footballer of the Year gong appears to be set for colleague Ciaran Kilkenny, the leader of an attacking line that is just irresistible.

He’s the 1/2 favourite to take over from keeper Stephen Cluxton, who is tipped to lose out to Cavan’s Raymond Galligan in the All-Stars.

Dublin players fill the first four listings in the betting with brilliant midfielder Brian Fenton the closest rival to Kilkenny and O’Callaghan and James McCarthy completing the quartet.

Meanwhile, the star of Galway’s All-Ireland U20 football triumph over Dublin was on the losing side in last year’s minor final, won by Cork by 3-20 to 3-14 after extra-time.

Powerful full-forward Tomo Culhane kicked 0-10 against the Rebels and made the step-up in grade a seamless transition by scoring 1-6 of Galway’s 1-11, which pipped Dublin’s 0-13.

He was one of three players from minor in 2019 who were promoted to U20 this season by manager Donal Ó Fatharta, who was in charge of the minors last term.

Corner-back Jonathan McGrath, who skippered the minors, and wing-back Cian Nernon also made the starting 15 with Nernon impressing at midfield until suffering leg injury while catching the ball to start the second half and being forced off. The trio are eligible for the next two seasons which augurs well for Galway, who overcame Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final.

It was Dublin’s second successive final defeat, having lost to Cork in last year’s decider, going under by 3-16 to 1-14 in Portlaoise.

The Dubs had two survivors from that team, forwards Ciaran Archer, the leading scorer last season, including 1-5 against Cork, and Brian O’Leary, who kicked 0-3.

But, Archer was well held and could only manage a lone point as Dublin struggled to get him into the game while O’Leary landed a couple of points.

MINOR MATTERS

Cork had a passing interest in the Munster minor final this evening between their conquerors Kerry and Clare at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick last night.

Kerry were aiming for an eighth successive provincial title, having pipped Cork by 0-21 to 1-15 after extra-time in the semi-final. Clare trying for only their fourth title and a first since 1953 when the Banner overcame Cork by 0-7 to 0-2 in the final.

Clare posted 1-24 and 4-10 in runaway wins over Tipperary and Limerick.

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