Seán Cavanagh still reeling after Dublin drubbing
‘I believe they’re the best team I’ve ever seen play the game’ says Tyrone legend
Seán Cavanagh with Dublin’s Paul Flynn: “All things being equal I think Dublin are going to dominate for a while to come.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
“I have no idea what they’re on,” says Seán Cavanagh, praising this Dublin football team on entirely well-intentioned terms and making a bold statement nonetheless of how far they’re ahead of everyone else.
Indeed just over a week into his retirement, Cavanagh is still coming to terms with the sheer ferocity with which Dublin beat Tyrone in the All-Ireland semi-final last Sunday week.
“I know we trained ourselves to the bitter end in the past eight or nine months, couldn’t have committed any more in terms of our time and our efforts, but you’re walking away thinking ‘those Dublin players are still five or 10 per cent stronger, faster and fitter’.
“Sometimes within a game you can think the circumstances dictate, and the team losing will always look un-fitter, but still I felt ‘nah, these Dublin guys are something new’.
“It was their whole system of play, their whole machine that impressed me most. Jim Gavin is obviously a very meticulous man. I fear for the rest of the teams, and that’s being hand on heart. I’m not sure if Dublin continue on this curve that they’re on, the way they’re playing, the way they’re dominating Gaelic football, I fear most teams are going to really, really struggle. The GAA are going to struggle to create spectacles. It’s amazing what they have at their disposal.”
Cavanagh is convinced Dublin will beat Mayo on Sunday week, win the three-in-a-row, and won’t stop there.
“I think they could possibly win eight out of 10, whatever it might be. All things being equal, and the Super 8s will probably help them, because they’ve got the strength on the bench as well.
“I didn’t, prior to our match, buy into the hype that Dublin were that good. I felt we had more than enough to beat them and we had the athleticism to match them and the power to match them.
“But they surprised me, every one of their players was incredible pacy, incredibly powerful, playing off the shoulder football, they got back very, very quickly and they were able to spot gaps on their kick-outs that other teams weren’t able to stop. They had match ups that worked. They had it all.
“I have to admit, they were the best team I’ve ever played against at inter-county level. I told the Dublin lads that after the game. I believe they’re the best team I ever seen play the game.”
Would splitting Dublin in two help?
“I know that if it was being suggested for Tyrone, I would be laughing it out the door. I don’t think that will work. I have no idea how you stop it, that’s the reality. They’ve obviously got the numbers, they’ve got the resources, they’ve got the crest of the wave, the commercialism, everything is all there for them.
“There’s a serious bit of catching up to be done, I know from even where we’re at in Tyrone. We felt we could catch them on a particular day but it wasn’t the case.