Dublin make their 2019 championship bow this weekend when they travel to O’Moore Park in Portlaoise to take on Louth in the LSFC.
It is the first game in what will hopefully be a monumental summer for Jim Gavin and his charges as the Metropolitans go in search of the GAA’s first ever five-in-a-row.
With odds as high as 100/1 for a Louth win, it is difficult to see them being able to figure out the Dublin juggernaut, after all, countless sides have tried and failed over the last number of years. Dublin haven’t been beaten in the provincial competition since Meath put five goals passed Stephen Cluxton in a 2010 ambush.
While it’s difficult to conceive them falling in Leinster, there’s no doubt that sterner tests lie ahead for Dublin in the All-Ireland series. Mayo ended an 18-year wait for a national title in March by collecting a league title, defeating a Kerry side who have impressed so far under Peter Keane.
Last year’s All-Ireland final victims, Tyrone, will also fancy their chances having defeated Dublin earlier this season under lights in Croke Park and while Donegal may have been operating in Division 2 this year, with a full-hand on deck and Michael Murphy on form, they are a match for anybody.
Outside of these four, it really is difficult to see anyone overcoming Dublin in their drive-for-five.
Following the conclusion of this year’s Allianz Football League, Pundit Arena spoke to Vinnie Murphy as he reflected on his famed Dublin career and his stint playing in Kerry.
When asked about Dublin’s upcoming tilt at five-in-a-row, Murphy claimed that Jim Gavin has been following a template that has worked for Dublin and is refusing to read into their three league defeats.
The former All-Star also thinks that Dublin will win the All-Ireland by any amount they want this year.
“I think looking at it without going into too much depth, they lost three (league games) but the Dublin team over the last two or three years has got this thing where football in August is really what it’s all about,” Murphy told Pundit Arena.
“I think Jim has followed a template. In 2016 they went past their peak coming up to the semi-final. I think he’s now got it absolutely spot on. I suppose people are looking at Kerry and Mayo as being rejuvenated but I think Dublin are going to win it by any amount they want this year, I think they are going to win it as easily as last year.”
Mayo ended their wait for a national title back in March and while Murphy thinks it will drive James Horan’s group on, he feels they are lacking the quality up front to have a sustained crack at the Sam Maguire Cup.
“Ah look those Mayo players, they are much maligned, I’ve been in some of the places, those dark corners over the years having lost semi-finals and finals.
“I can only imagine they probably lost twice the amount and I guess a reward like winning a national title, it can go two ways, it could distract them a small bit, which I don’t think it will or it could drive them on a small bit.
“I still think Mayo are short up front for a sustained attempt at ‘Sam’ especially with the Super 8s, they are a match for anybody on any given day but to do it over three games and then a semi-final and a final I don’t think they have it.”
Whilst Mayo lack the firepower up front, Murphy feels it is Kerry’s defence that will ultimately be their downfall.
The 1995 All-Ireland winner feels that the Kingdom “are probably the fifth or sixth best team in the country” and that they will struggle to emerge from the Super 8s once again.
“The same for Kerry, they could come on with these games but until they are realistic enough and honest with themselves they are probably the fifth or sixth best team in the country in terms of talent.”
“That’s because from midfield back they are not All-Ireland standard, their front six or eight or ten is as good as anybody out there but I feel they are going to struggle to get out of the Super 8s especially with the other teams there the likes of Tyrone, Monaghan and Donegal, I think they are going to find it tough.”