Three factors to take from last weekend's GAA action

1) Alan Brogan’s return

The forthcoming return of Alan Brogan to Jim Gavin’s panel will be music to the ears of Dubliners.

Fans of the league will know that Leinster and All-Ireland title favourites Dublin have struggled to dismantle the blanket defensive systems of teams but the presence of Brogan will add subtle attacking qualities to Gavin’s options.

Such subtleties will be crucial, especially at the business end of the All-Ireland series, as Dublin’s opponents become fixated on how to negate Gavin’s unit.

Against Monaghan yesterday, Dublin, unexpectedly it must be said, accumulated 1-22 in Clones, with 1-17 coming from open play.

However, Malachy O’Rourke’s side have attacked efficiently throughout this campaign and have not been sitting back to frustrate their opponents.

Yet, Brogan will still be required by Dublin as an impact substitute because his spatial awareness could allow him to punch holes in those massed rearguards.

2) Dublin’s defending

Usually, I wouldn't dedicate more than one of the three key points to one team - but Dublin’s own defending thus far in the league deserves mentioning as the statistics suggest improvements have been made by the Boys in Blue.

Rory O’Carroll was widely regarded as the man of the match in Clones as he kept sharpshooter Conor McManus scoreless in open play - no mean feat!

Eoin Culligan has been another regular starter in this competition in Dublin’s full-back line and it has not gone unnoticed that only Cork, in the opening round, and Monaghan have managed to score goals against Gavin’s soldiers.

If teams are really going to challenge Dublin’s superiority in the league and Leinster landscapes, registering goals will be a must.

However, Dublin’s defending is clearly getting better. It needed to, but it is definitely improving all the same.

3) Kerry's attacking gold

Kerry won the Munster and All-Ireland titles even in his absence last year, but the sight of Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper striding on to the Healy Park surface in Omagh yesterday would have been cheered from Kenmare to Dingle.

At present, it seems Dublin and Kerry are justifiably positioned as first and second favourites to win the All-Ireland this year.

Cork, Mayo and Donegal, obviously, will all have something to say about that.

Cooper and Kieran Donaghy will destroy teams in the Championship as the former will be locating the athletic Tralee man with the diagonal passes that Donaghy thrives on.

Cooper’s virtually unrivalled capacity to unleash pinpoint, long-range passes will generate a massive number of scoring opportunities for Éamonn Fitzmaurice’s group.

As soon as James O’Donoghue rejoins their ranks, Kerry will again have the most impressive offensive arsenal in the country.


 

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