Home GAA Opinion: Dublin’s Bench Holds The Key To Their Success

Opinion: Dublin’s Bench Holds The Key To Their Success

On Sunday, Jim Gavin will look to mastermind a third All-Ireland triumph on the bounce with this great Dublin team.

However, it is more than just the starting XV that are key to the champions, it is the depth of their squad. In fact, it can be argued that the 15 who finish the game are as, if not more important to the Dubs’ success.

There are All-Ireland winners, All Stars and former Footballer of the Year winners waiting in reserve, knowing that even if they only get 20 minutes, they have a role in the side – they are key to the Dublin machine.

The success Dublin have enjoyed is due to more than just money (although that helps) and it is more than population (although that helps also). The fact that players who are past their peak and are forced into bit-part roles still go through the slog and put in the commitment required tells you all you need to know about the spirit that is in this Dublin team.

Such is the strength in Gavin’s squad, Diarmuid Connolly was only the fifth sub introduced against Tyrone – in a game where they beat the Ulster champions by a mammoth 12 points in Croke Park.

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Paul Flynn

Flynn won four All Stars in a row between 2011-2014 but yet had to be satisfied with a spot on the bench in the semi-final win over Tyrone.

He is the perfect example of the strength in depth that this side possesses as they look for a third All-Ireland title in a row – and it likely that Flynn may start Sunday’s final on the bench.

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Kevin McManamon

A goal-scorer in the 2011 All-Ireland final, McManamon has performed on the biggest stage before.

This could be valuable experience if things start to go wrong as his effort against Kerry six years ago reduced the deficit to one in a game that Dublin went on to win.

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Eoghan O’Gara

O’Gara is a scorer. Perhaps he is best used in the final quarter against a tired defence but he definitely an asset to this side.

Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final, Croke Park, Dublin 25/6/2017 Dublin vs Westmeath Dublin's Eoghan O’Gara

O’Gara is a potential match-winner on Sunday for Dublin – if he even gets a run

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Eric Lowndes

Initially named to start against Tyrone, Lowndes was only the fourth sub introduced by Gavin in their semi-final win.

Like everyone else who gets anywhere near the Dublin shirt, he is a superb talent and will have a role to play in Sunday’s decider.

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Diarmuid Connolly

A controversial figure, there was much debate as to how best use Connolly after his return from suspension.

GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final, Croke Park, Dublin 30/8/2015.Dublin vs Mayo.Dublin's Diarmuid Connolly.Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Unfortunately, the St Vincents man has made a habit of being ordered off the field – either through red or black cards – and despite his undoubted talent, there is a risk in playing him.

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Bernard Brogan

One of the legends of the sport, Brogan may not even take to the field on Sunday, such is the strength of the options at Gavin’s disposal.

While 2017 will probably be his last season in the sky blue shirt, Brogan’s contribution to this great Dublin team cannot be taken for granted.

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Micahel Darragh MacAuley

MDMA is another superb footballer who hasn’t been a mainstay of the team in 2017.

GAA All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final, Croke Park, Dublin 18/9/2016 Dublin vs Mayo Dublin's Michael Darragh MacAuley with Donal Vaughan of Mayo Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

While Mayo are strong in the middle of the field, the Dubs have depth in this area also as their incredible panel of players ensures that they have top-quality back-up in pretty much every position.

Joel Slattery, Pundit Arena

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