Wexford unlikely to stop Dublin juggernaut

Jim Gavin’s side should ensure Leinster final spot at Croke Park

The quandary that Dublin now presents for opposition managers is exquisite. Circle the wagons and you invite wave after wave of attack. Try to match their style score for score and you run the risk of humiliation. Summer visitors to Jones' Road can rarely have felt as intimidated. Little wonder that Wexford's Aidan O'Brien dismissed any comparison between this match and the close-run affairs of recent seasons as "spurious". It is.

Jim Gavin continues to advertise the benefits of finishing with his strong team. Kevin McManamon, young footballer of the year Jack McCaffrey, 2011 captain Bryan Cullen, Cormac Costello, Dean Rock and Paul Mannion all came in from the bench against Laois and contributed 0-9 collectively.

Bernard Brogan might get a chance to finish the game off with McManamon starting in his place tomorrow and Rock is also in the starting 15 this time.

Keeping such a deeply talented squad content is a feat: Gavin has managed it by subtly suggesting that just making it onto the Dublin bench is an achievement, let alone the starting 15.

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One of Gavin’s constant messages has been about Dublin’s mental strength: their refusal to give up in matches. Eventually, that seeps into other dressing rooms and the calm, methodical way in which Dublin hunted down Cork’s lead in the league final must have sent a chill through all counties.

Defensive duties

What can

Wexford

do?

Graeme Molloy

will have his hands full, even without Bernard Brogan starting. Wexford have experienced defenders in

Brian Marlow

and

Adrian Flynn

and will hope that PJ Banville and company can convert every goal chance they create.

Dublin have started matches sluggishly this season and Wexford need to establish themselves in the first 20 minutes. But it is the final 20, during which the Dubs are at full throttle, which seem like an impossible proposition for them. They have lost some totemic players since the seasons when they were unlucky not to win a Leinster championship.

As it stands, the counties have met 18 times since 1956, the year that Wexford last beat Dublin in a provincial championship match. That trend will continue tomorrow.

Keith Duggan

Keith Duggan

Keith Duggan is a features writer with The Irish Times