With one blistering second-half of football, Dublin have catapulted themselves right back to near the top of most people’s list of All-Ireland contenders.
Four goals after the break downed Derry on Sunday afternoon, as Dessie Farrell’s charges claimed the Allianz Football League Division 2 title in style.
“Just a bit of excitement. There was a bit of frustration during the early rounds of the league, how they were playing, the results, and that performance or game plan. Definitely a bit of excitement back,” assessed ex-Dubs star Denis Bastick, speaking to Our Game.
“To get that good test at the end. You’re coming up against another team that are possible contenders, Ulster champions last year. It was a tough game away up in Celtic Park, but then to put it right in Croke Park was really good for the team.
“That was a really good statement of intent. Whereas they’ve been stuttering along early on. But that was a real ‘we’re going to go at you, we’re going to go fast, we’re going to go hard, we’re going to try open you up for goals’. And they did against one of the most defensive teams in the league.”
Although there is no longer a significant break between the league and championship, the Dubs will not meet another genuine All-Ireland contender until after the Leinster Championship at earliest.
And Bastick knows the Sky Blues will be ramping it up in the coming weeks.
“The season is two halves. It always has been as a player. You get to the league, you get a break, then you come back. Your settled team, you have a squad. There’s a lot of squad players early on in the year, O’Byrne Cup, Sigerson, things like that. Then after the league, you probably settle down into your 30 players. It’s a real ‘here we go’ kind of thing,” he detailed.
“I think Dublin are in a good place. A lot of players are still not around. If they can manage to get these guys back on the pitch, they’re going to have a serious squad or a serious attempt at the title.”