The Dublin senior footballers stand on the brink of history as the 2019 All-Ireland Championship looms.
The ‘drive for five’ is underway and all anybody can talk about is whether Jim Gavin’s men can complete something that has never been done before in Gaelic Games.
The great Kilkenny hurling team of the late 2000s couldn’t complete the five, nor could the golden generation of Kerry football in the late ’70s and early ’80s.
Having come so close to achieving the feat in 1982 you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that Kerry folk live in fear of Dublin completing the famous five in 2019 and scratching their name into the annals of GAA history.
However, according to Kingdom legend, Aidan O’Mahony, there is no fear of what Dublin may do this year and that all the pressure lies firmly on their shoulders, which can only be a good thing for Kerry.
O’Mahony is also firm in his belief that Kerry’s young guns can win the All-Ireland this year and stop Dublin’s ‘drive-for-five’.
“There’s not a fear of it,” said the Paddy Power GAA Ambassador.
“Everything is going to be on Dublin this year. Any game they play they will be under the microscope and that’s a good thing for Kerry.
“Looking at the league I think they can (win the All-Ireland). Even the league final against Mayo – I know James Horan has said they should have won by more, which the players won’t forget either.
“If they get the defensive set-up right, they won’t be far off it. The pressure is on Dublin.”
While O’Mahony admits that the pressure is firmly on Dublin, he doesn’t think complacency will seep into the side considering the depth of talent their squad possesses.
The five-time All-Ireland winner also pointed to the return of Rory O’Carroll as having strengthened the Dubs even further.
“There is pressure on Dublin but Jim Gavin knows he has a panel of players that if one isn’t pulling his weight, there is someone else who will.
“Plus Rory [O’Carroll] is back, and I presume Diarmuid [Connolly] will be back soon so they are two massive additions.
“You might have said that Dublin have had a small weakness in their full-back line, but if Rory O’Carroll comes back in, he’s a vital cog for them.
“Teams might have thought about an aerial bombardment, but he’s the type of fella [sic] that if you bombard him he’ll keep on coming out with the ball.”
The Rathmore man believes that while Dublin didn’t put everything into this year’s league campaign and are still the team to beat, they are very much catchable.
“If every team were thinking that Dublin will win the five-in-a-row, they wouldn’t bother training. They might need a bit of an off-day, but I think they are catchable.
“I don’t think they put everything into the league, I think Jim Gavin has said they won’t be remembered for winning leagues this year.
“Even the game in Tralee was worrying for me: they were only just back training and they still drove on near the end of the game. They are the team to beat.”
O’Mahony feels the gap between Dublin and the chasing pack has gotten closer as teams now realise in order to beat Jim Gavin’s side, you have to front them up and go toe-to-toe with the champions.
“I think it has. Teams have realised now that you need to go man-for-man with Dublin. Putting two and three behind the ball will only last so long. They have athletes, serious athletes. Jack [McCaffrey], James McCarthy: they will hurt you if you sit off them.
“It’s about training lads to go toe-to-toe with them. You have to. Last year, Paul Mannion stuck out for me in the Tyrone game, tracking back into his own corner-back position. That’s what they have at the moment, lads who will go the well for you again and again.
“People say it gets harder and harder every year and they might take their eye off it: they won’t, because if they do there’s someone else who will take their jersey off them. Plus, it’s a five-in-a-row and they’ll all want to play in it. So it’ll be an interesting year. Very interesting.”