Oisin Column

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

THE Super 8 didn't exactly start with a bang, they started with a bit of a whimper. It was unfortunate that Roscommon and Tyrone were the first game because it was pretty one-sided. Tyrone owned the ball and were much the better team, which started it on a bit of a downer.
Then you had Dublin v Donegal, where Dublin were playing keep-ball, when everybody had lauded them and made them out to be the great saviours of football. It does leave a little bit of a sour taste in your mouth when they're doing that. To me, they're doing that as a reaction to other teams and they will stick their two fingers up to teams as if to say, 'If you want to play that way, we'll play that way.'
To be fair to Dublin, the one thing I would say about them is that they can be as defensive as any other team. The one major thing about them is that if you want to play it physical, they'll play it physical; if you want to play a game of football, have a shoot-out, they'll have a shoot-out; if you want to play defensive football, they'll play defensive football and I think it's an act of defiance almost. You can come at us whatever way you want but we'll grind you down it seems to say. People are saying that they weren't emphatic winners, and they weren't, but remember that this is a Dublin team that haven't really played anyone yet and they won it comfortably by five points.
We have and they have set their standards very, very high and sometimes it's very difficult to match them standards. Like any other county, I'd imagine they'd be pretty happy with a five point win. I know I might get some criticism for this, but I'd be more critical of Donegal who played in a certain way the whole way through the championship, changed it and went back to being defensive and I don't think that that's their best avenue to win any more.
I think that their best avenue to win would have been to try and take Dublin on. I think a lot of the young players will learn from it, young Brennan had a serious chance to stick a goal away early-on in the game and it didn't happen and a goal that early in the game can make a world of difference.
I think, all-in-all, Donegal tactically lost their nerve, it was a classic case of stick or twist. Tyrone last year played defensively and got badly beaten, so it's going to take some team to back themselves and take Dublin on man-to-man to win a game. There's lots of teams now who can play defensively and get an air of respectability about the result, but surely if you're playing at this level - you're down to the last 8 - your level of ambition has to be a bit more than just keeping the scoreboard respectable?
Having said that, I still expect Donegal and Dublin to come out of that group, but it will come down the the last game in Ballybofey, Donegal vs Tyrone. From what I've seen, I still think that Donegal are still slightly ahead of Tyrone, but, having said that, Tyrone are gaining some momentum. I still think that Kerry have a good chance of coming out of the other group despite losing to Galway. It wasn't the most attractive of games, but it's a great win for Galway.
How Armagh Ladies didn't win against Monaghan I don't know after missing a free-kick in the last minute. But although that's the one that people will remember, they'd so many chances in the game to wrap it up, so they'll be disappointed it didn't go their way and they'll see it as an opportunity lost.


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