Fermanagh no fools but they should be outgunned by Dublin
Manager Jim Gavin has the firepower to choose from for quarter-final encounter
Brian Fenton, seen here in possession against Monaghan in the league, starts at centrefield for Dublin. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho. Allianz Football League Division 1, Clones, Monaghan 5/4/2015Monaghan vs DublinMonghan’s Owen Duffy and Brian Fenton of Dublin Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne.
You’d imagine it must tickle the Dublin squad on some level that the country seems racked with worry over whether it’s any good for them to be going this far into the season without a test.
They must look at, say, Donegal – playing Tyrone, Armagh, Derry, Monaghan and Galway just to reach the same stage as Dublin have by playing Longford, Kildare and Westmeath – and think: “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Dublin arrive at the last eight of the competition without a single injury (long-term cruciate victim Eoghan O’Gara apart) for the first time all year.
Jim Gavin’s disposal
For all the riches at Jim Gavin’s disposal, he looks to have settled on a fairly definitive first 15.
Brian Fenton has started every game since the league semi-final so it looks like Dublin have finally settled on a midfield partner for Michael Darragh Macauley after two full seasons of chopping and changing under Gavin.
And the front six and back six more or less pick themselves.
Suffice to say, there’s little doubt this would be a fair approximation of the team Gavin would have in mind were they up against a sterner test than Fermanagh.
Dublin can’t do a whole lot more than get their best team in the best shape for when the hills get steepest down the line.
Macauley and Paul Flynn could both do with playing themselves into a bit of form before an All-Ireland semi-final so we can expect them to be playing with the choke out here.
Fermanagh are no fools. They won’t come to Dublin with their hands out and eyes closed waiting on the cane to descend.
Knowing you are outclassed is one thing, submitting to it is quite another.
They’ve met a couple of decent teams in Monaghan and Roscommon so far this summer and for long periods of both matches, it was they who dictated term
They frustrated the life out of Conor McManus up until the closing 10 minutes of their Ulster semi-final and, apart from Cathal Cregg, they largely kept the Roscommon attack under wraps too.
They are tigerish in defence but will have to improve their discipline.
Dean Rock is too good a free-taker to be handing chances to.
Also, unlucky and all as he has been, Ryan McCluskey needs to stay on the pitch. The task is arduous enough without losing their best player again.
In the end, Dublin have far too many guns. Fermanagh will be doing well to stay within a dozen points.
All-Ireland SFC quarter-final, Croke Park, Sunday, 4.0 (Live: RTÉ Two)
Last meeting: The teams have never met in the championship.
Betting: Dublin 1/200, Fermanagh 20/1, Draw 50/1.
Injuries: Both sides are picking from a full deck.
DUBLIN (probable): 1 S Cluxton; 2 J Cooper, 3 R O’Carroll, 4 P McMahon; 5 J McCarthy, 6 C O’Sullivan, 7 J McCaffrey; 8 M Darragh Macauley, 9 Brian Fenton; 10 P Flynn, 11 C Kilkenny, 12 D Connolly; 13 D Rock, 14 K McManamon, 15 B Brogan.
FERMANAGH (probable): 1 T Treacy; 2 M Jones, 3 TDaly, 4 N Cassidy; 5 B Mulrone, 6 R McCluskey, 7 J McMahon; 8 E Donnelly, 9 R O’Callaghan; 10 M O’Brien, 11 R Jones, 12 D McCusker; 13 P McCusker, 14 S Quigley, 15 T Corrigan.
Referee: P O’Sullivan (Kerry).