Jim McGuinness says Dublin the only team not buying into high-scoring football
Sky football analyst says champions the best defensive team in the country
Jim McGuinness at the Sky Sports 2021 Championship launch: “People just see what they [Dublin] put up on the scoreboard and think, ‘that is an amazing team’ but what they don’t get credit for is that they’re an amazing defensive team; they defend for their lives; they defend in numbers; they make contact; they put in hits.” Photograph: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Former Donegal All-Ireland-winning manager and Sky Sports analyst Jim McGuinness, speaking at yesterday’s launch of the broadcaster’s championship schedules, raised eyebrows when he said that whereas the high-scoring football league matches were a surprise he believed that the one team not embracing this departure was All-Ireland champions Dublin.
“It’s crazy the way the game has gone. I don’t know, it’s just one-way traffic now. It’s the old Newcastle strategy where we just outscore everybody. To be fair, the only team in the country to my mind that’s not fully buying into that is Dublin.
“Going back to the point I made earlier about myself and Kieran being at the games last year, Dublin were probably the most defensive team in the country. There’s absolutely no doubt about that. They had 15 men inside their own 65 almost every time the opposition had the ball.
“The difference is that when Dublin get the ball they’re absolutely brilliant at keeping the ball. They’re brilliant at running the ball; they’re brilliant at transitioning; they’re brilliant at kicking their scores. So that whitewashes over everything.
“People just see what they put up on the scoreboard and think, ‘that is an amazing team’ but what they don’t get credit for is that they’re an amazing defensive team; they defend for their lives; they defend in numbers; they make contact; they put in hits.
“Personally I wouldn’t read too much into the National League up to this point because it’s only three games and there are big scores being notched up but then there’s parts of it you think that, ‘well, if that keeps going, some big team is going to get taken out’ because a team with serious pace is going to make three or four incisions and on a given day maybe the three or four [goals] will go in.
“Football is sitting on this sort of knife edge now and it’s going to be really interesting to see, for me, where it plays out.”