Former Donegal manager Jim McGuinness has claimed that Dublin were the most defensive team in the country last year.
Gaelic football has received much criticism over the past decade or so for low-scoring defensive games, although that trend does seem to have been broken in recent times.
McGuinness agrees that the sport has seen more games of an attacking nature in this year’s national leagues, but the Donegal man claimed at Sky Sports’ launch of it’s GAA coverage that Dublin were the exception to this case.
📢Our live games for 2021 have been announced. It all starts with a Gaelic football double-header on June 26!
— Sky Sports GAA (@SkySportsGAA) June 3, 2021
Jim McGuinness on Dublin’s defensive style of play.
“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,” McGuinness commented.
“Going back to the point I made earlier about myself and Kieran [Donaghy] 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.”
Cormac Costello & David Clifford sit joint-top of the Allianz Football League scoring charts, heading into next week’s semi finals
— Dublin GAA (@DubGAAOfficial) June 2, 2021
‘They’re an amazing defensive team.’
Although Dublin do often rack up impressive scorelines in their games, the former Donegal manager believes that this is because they are clinical in scoring opportunities, not because they are constantly on the attack.
While McGuinness’ comments may appear as criticism of Dublin’s tactics to some, the 2012 All-Ireland-winning coach was keen to express his admiration of the Dubs’ defensive abilities.
“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,” McGuinness explained.
“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.”