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Oisin McConville: Opportunity missed to get Dublin out of Croke Park

Oisin McConville believes something must be done urgently to tackle Dublin’s dominance at inter-county level.

McConville has come up with both short-term and long-term solutions that he believes will start redressing the balance back from Dublin towards the other 31 counties.


Opportunity missed

Speaking on the Second Captains World Service, the former Armagh forward believes the perfect opportunity was missed by not taking Dublin out of Croke Park for last Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final against Cavan.

“Short-term, people need to start raging against the machine,” he said. “The perfect opportunity was Cavan standing their ground and moving that game out.

“When next year comes around and we have full attendances back at our games, the GAA have a genuine argument. They want to get kids in, want as many people in, want to get bums on seats, want to do all those things and make it as accessible as possible.

“This year, there was certainly no counter-argument to moving that game somewhere else and the fact that it wasn’t on the radar is the most worrying thing.”

Dublin’s dominance

The Crossmaglen clubman sees no end in sight with Dublin’s dominance. He compared the current situation to other successful sports teams down the years.

“I keep thinking about other teams that have dominated in different sports,” he continued. “You think of the (Chicago) Bulls or somebody like that and you think, right, when Jordan goes this thing is going to fall apart.

“When you look at the players that have gone out of Dublin and the players that have come in, it seems very seamless.

“I think a big thing is the dressing room and what’s expected of you when you’re walking into that dressing room. The things that are acceptable and things that are very much not acceptable.”


Next ten All-Irelands

The two time All-Star sees Dublin winning “the majority of the next ten All-Irelands.” However, he does believe there are long-term strategies that can be put in place to support other counties. This could help them challenge Dublin in the future.

He explained: “If you look at clubs in Dublin, look at the coaching structures in those clubs. I have gone to my local club and have muted this on several occasions. That we should have a full time GDO (Games Development Officer), so a full time coach within the club.

“You know what will get said back to me? We never needed that before, why would we need it now? And the reason you need it now is unless you’re doing something like that, you are being left behind in a massive way.

“Because this is going to go from the mens into the ladies. Even into the clubs, which is already part of the equation if you look at the last ten club All-Irelands. This is an absolute monster.”


Cavan almost irrelevant

Going back to the semi-final itself, McConville said “it almost felt irrelevant that Cavan were there the other night.” He believes that Dublin are no longer playing the opposition, instead they are focussed solely on maximising their own performance.

He described it “like a darts player or snooker player playing the board or the table.”

“There’s players in the Dublin forward line not even breaking sweat. They’re just coming on the outside and kicking their score.”


Tyrone and Armagh amalgamation

There was reference made to The Sunday Game and the suggestion that counties like Armagh and Tyrone could amalgamate. The 2002 All-Ireland winner was tongue in cheek with his response to the idea.

“If that happens, I’ll be another dubs supporter. The last thing we want is more Tyrone people with All Ireland medals, Jesus Christ almighty.”

Alan Brogan has also weighed in on the debate. 

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