Shane Stapleton and football coach Steven Poacher analyse the Leinster SFC final clash of Dublin and Meath, look at the 12 goals the Royals have scored in two games, and ask if the new Dubs are up to the old standard-bearers.
BY JACK NEVILLE
Steven Poacher isn’t convinced that Dublin are at the same levels they reached during their drive for five.
In their first championship campaign under Dessie Farrell, the Dubs have gone about their business with the usual efficiency with an 11-point win over Westmeath before pummelling Laois 2-23 to 0-7 in Croke Park last weekend.
However, Down minor coach Poacher is unsure if Dublin are the same force they were under Jim Gavin having lost some key players over the summer.
“I’m not overly convinced that they are at the same level they have been over the last few years,” he says. “I don’t think they can be.
“I think the lads that were brought in have brought a freshness.
“Those lads are hungry but whether they are at the same level of a Jack McCaffrey or a Diarmuid Connolly remains to be seen. I don’t think they are.
“If there is a year to catch Dublin, it’s this year. But they won’t be caught in Leinster,” he adds. “They’ll win on Sunday.”
Meath will be appearing in a second consecutive Leinster final as they were easily dismissed by Gavin’s side in 2019 on a 1-17 to 0-4 scoreline in 2019.
There has been much improvement by The Royals over the past few years and they competed in Division One of the National Football League this season.
Poacher is hopeful that Andy McEntee’s team — who scored a combined 12 goals against Wicklow and Kildare — can pose problems for the Dubs on Sunday, but isn’t so sure they will be capable of doing so.
“Hopefully on Sunday, Meath can get off to a really good start, who knows?
“If Meath get off to a good start, kick a few scores and cause a little bit of trouble in the Dublin defence, who knows?
“But let’s be honest, we’re dealing with an absolute juggernaut.”
A win for Dublin on Sunday would be their tenth successive triumph and 15th in 16 years, with Poacher worried about the state of the Leinster championship.
“I think that Leinster is the weakest it’s ever been.
“You look at Kildare’s capitulation over the weekend. A pitiful second half from them.
“When you look back you would have to ask yourself, how is this an inter-county provincial semi-final because the defending was shambolic.”
Get the brilliant new children’s GAA novel ‘Up In The Air’ at https://PaddyStapleton.ie
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