Dublin vs Tyrone Preview
DUBLIN AND TYRONE’S STRENGTH
What has made Dublin such a force to be reckoned with since 2013 is their ability to get the quick kick-out off, their ratio of quick kick-outs to scores and the fact that this hundred-mile-an-hour style can run oppositions into the ground, preparing for a final quarter pummelling.
What has made them such a phenomenal force since 2015 is their new-found ability, when the quick attack doesn’t happen, to also “pick and poke” their way through blanket defences, something which was their downfall against Donegal in 2014.
In their championship campaign this year, they’ve managed over a fifty percent attack to point ratio facing into blanket defences, even against Kildare and Monaghan GAA adapted ELO ranked 7th and 6th in the country.
However, in Tyrone they meet a side who have shown figures which are almost as impressive. As they’ve only faced one top eight side in championship this year, Donegal (ELO ranked fifth), these are the only figure worth taking seriously.
They scored 1-11 from 28 attacks into Donegal’s blanket defence. That’s a 50 percent ratio, almost as good as Dublin’s against top eight sides.
More significantly is the fact that if we exclude the final ten minutes of games, where Tyrone were out of sight on all occasions and let their foot off the gas, they’ve conceded an average of a mere point every eight minutes.
It remains to be seen if Dublin’s brilliant “pick and poke” football will consistently unlock this Tyrone defence, as they’ve done to opponents all summer long.
Evidence from their league encounter, if we can go by this, combined with Mayo’s defensive assault on Dublin last September suggest that this Dublin attack can potentially be limited to low double figures scores. Potentially that is!
If they are less than invincible, this is the most likely defence in the country to prove it.
It’s noteworthy that, effective as Dublin’s calm methodical attacking play has been, waiting for the opposition defence to slip up before going for the jugular, over half of their scores into Monaghan’s and Kildare’s blanket defences came off the back of a technical/positioning error by the defence which Dublin pounced on once they smelled blood.
Tyrone’s methodical efficient defence is far less likely to leave these openings which will force Dublin to actively take on and beat defenders to break the line a lot more than they’ve had to do.
To that end, Dublin’s attack versus Tyrone’s defence is the proverbial unstoppable force meeting an immovable object.
Dublin’s attack is possibly the most potent and, now, methodical in the history of the game, meeting the most meticulously solid defence.
It’s going to be a fascinating contest. Can Dublin pick and poke their way through the Tyrone defence? Can Tyrone sustain seventy plus minutes of Dublin’s pace and power?
Of course, there will be many elements involved, but for me, the most fascinating is how Dublin’s immense attack will fare against this most efficient of defences.
Dublin are the side who’ve been there and done that so they still have to be the favourites, but it’s set up to be one hell of a battle, tactically and in every other regard.
By Stephen O’Meara