U21 title win underlines Dublin’s growing dominance

U21 final scoreboard

Photo: @DubGAAOfficial

I really fancied Roscommon to lift their third U21 All-Ireland title today and I’d say the huge Rossie contingent who pitched up at O’Connor Park in Tullamore travelled with a fair bit of expectation too. But it wasn’t to be – the Rossie supporters never got to clear their throats at all as Dublin blew them away with an immaculate point-scoring exhibition in the first half. Dublin scored an incredible thirteen points without replay, the bulk of them from play, in that first half and they already had their county’s fourth U21 All-Ireland in the bag by the break.

The three goals Roscommon got early in the second half put a bit of respectability on the scoreboard but it never was enough to force them back into the contest, not least because they were 1-17 to 0-2 down before they got their opening goal. The goals did, however, at least mean that they weren’t beaten out the gate but they still went down to a fairly comprehensive defeat, losing by 1-21 to 3-6.

Dublin didn’t win their first All-Ireland at this level until 2003 but they’ve now won it three times in the last five years. Coming on top of the seniors’ completion of back-to-back NFL titles last Sunday and their position as reigning All-Ireland champions, not to mention St. Vincents’ All-Ireland club victory in March, it’s clear that there’s no shortage of silverware in the capital at the minute. Indeed, it’s hard to avoid the rather obvious conclusion that we’re now witnessing a period of unparalleled dominance by Dublin at every level of the game.

Resources, including (though not limited to) money, undoubtedly are a major factor in this regard, as is the enormous pool of playing talent in the capital. But so too is organisation and hard work and what I found most striking about today’s win was the way in which Dublin’s superior strength and conditioning and the confident way they played the game shone through. The near-professional approach adopted by Dublin in relation to their under-age development programme in recent years is now producing an unprecedented conveyor belt of talent and, if today’s latest All-Ireland success is any indication (and I think it is) then the rest of us could well have little but a diet of constant Dublin success to look forward to in the years ahead.

If that weren’t sobering enough then the way in which Roscommon were so comprehensively dismantled in today’s final should give us even more pause for thought. This was the same Roscommon team who lashed four goals past our lads in the first round of the Connacht championship back in March on an evening when the gulf between the teams in terms of physical strength was all too apparent. Yet Roscommon were no match for Dublin today in the physical stakes either, which tells you something about where we sit in the scheme of things. Once upon a time, we used to look upon the U21 grade as an area where we excelled (as we frequently did) but it’s now depressingly clear that we’re simply light years off the pace at this level.

16 thoughts on “U21 title win underlines Dublin’s growing dominance

  1. Delighted to see Roscommon lose.

    Our neighbours in the west are our biggest rivals. No reason why we should celebrate their successes

  2. I don’t agree cynical Cynthia, I am married to a Rossie and have had to listen to them more then I like, but last September some hardened Rossies I know had a mayo flag on their house

  3. Pretty sad comment Cynthia . We should be mature enough to support any Connacht team in an All Ireland Final especially v The Dubs. taking delight in seeing any western team take a pasting is pretty low as we know only too well what it is like to see our team under perform in a major final. Cavan were very unlucky to lose to the dubs and I don’t think Roscommon would have lost so badly to them. we need to be taking a serious look at underage in Mayo and see what we can learn from this.

  4. While Dublin did blow us apart today our management team were very naive to go toe to toe with Dublin without having a plan b in place in case Dublins power, pace and accuracy got too much for us, this was becoming evident after 6 or 7 minutes but because there was no plan b Dublin coasted ahead.

    Dublin have a conveyor of talent coming through, Mannion, Costello and McHugh would make a serious inside forward line for most senior counties and the former pair are underage again next year. Dublin are moving away from the pack with the levels of preparation they are doing with their teams and the vast analysis teams they have in place (4 analysts they had today in the stands with laptops sending real time stats and footage to the line that was viewed on a tablet). Been able to decipher so much information in a short space of time and having a vast amount of talent in reserve Dublin could easily but 3 or 4 senior all irelands back to back at this stage at senior

  5. Cynical Cynthia I’ve got to hand it to you, no hiding behind the door with you, tell it as it is and let the devil take the hind tit. Where we might usually like to see Connaught teams doing well, you have a point there about Roscommon, they are our biggest rivals this year and a win over Dublin today would have them bulging with confidence. So for this one I agree, Mayo football is number one and nothing else should matter, end of story!

  6. As Connacht people there can be no satisfaction on Roscommon’s near annihalation today. I say this as somebody who has had no great grá for Roscommon over a long number of years. It only emphases the growing gulf between Dublin and the rest of the country. I have already made my point regards this a number of times, most recently last night at c.9.50 pm on Willie Joe’s thoughts on the team for Sunday in replies to Martin the Dub and John Cuffe in particular and I will not repeat them.
    However I will add that as I understand it a considerable amount of state money has been out into Dublin GAA youth development, over the past several years. Most of this was, I think, directed to hurling as evidenced by the Dubs rise in the hurling rankings over recent years but football also benefited. [Other sports also benefited and I am not complaining about this] But it does unbalance the GAA scene and the GAA needs to look at this. If there is no real competition the interest among the general population will decline and interest by TV and sponsors will follow to detriment of the GAA in general. People may point to Kilkenny’s four in a row in hurling and Kerry’s in football in the 70’s/80’s and make comparisons. But they never dominated at all levels and age groups as Dublin are doing at the moment.

  7. The Dubs were something else in free flow yesterday. Conor McHugh MOTM with 1-6 (only 0-10 before yesterday in 4 games) thanked Roscommon for playing such an open game and allowing Dublin to express themselves. Terribly naive tactics from Roscommon in the first half and opening 5 mins of the 2nd half. Cavan,Meath and even Longford didn’t allow Dublin to play their game.

    That game had the potential to be a top match shame it turned into such a one sided contest due to one management team clearly doing no homework on the opposition. Well done to Dublin yet another All Ireland won and serious talent in their ranks now the conveyor belt is showing no signs of slowing down. The chasing pack should be very fearful.

  8. Not glad to bee Ros whacked. Prefer to see teams from west do well. Yes Ros are our rivals but the stronger the football in Connacht the better. . I was in croker in 1993 when our seniors lost AI semi by 20 pts and Galway lost minor by 19 These results showed just how far we had fallen behind in the west, Thankfully things have improved with AI titles coming across the Shannon more regularly.A high tide lifts all boats

  9. I hope all media keep building up Dublin as September they could be a bit complacent &
    the likes of Mayo & Tyrone & Cork could be waiting in the long grass for them.

    Best of luck to all involved in New York today could be the start of a long march to Croker

    When was the last time Mayo had 2 sets of brothers playing Championship football OConnors Osheas

  10. It’s now the rest of the country versus Dublin. I will support any team playing against them and the petty rivalries of Connacht are now meaningless in the overall scheme of things. What good is it beating all your neigbors and falling at the final hurdle every time. Winning another Connacht title will not fill the void and same goes for winning the next 20.

    We now have a two tier system in everything in Ireland and sport is just a reflection of that. Dublin is now the black hole that is swallowing up everything and sucking the life out of the rest of the country. The GAA hierarchy must distribute the money fairly amongst all the counties and level the playing field as much as possible. Any player not picked for their county panel should be allowed to join another county panel if asked. This way the weaker counties could build up stronger panels and be more competitive.

    Mayo v New York – who cares!

  11. I am little disappointed for Roscommon, however they did get to the final and it will be a good experience for thier young players. Mayo more than anyone need Roscommon and Galway to be back firing on all cylinders asthe more competition in conannught the better for us. Good Luck to the team today in New York. I hate these games agaainst so called lesser oposition.

  12. I think we are showing too much respect to Dublin, you would think that they beat us by a cricket score in the AI and a draw that was handed to them in the league
    I don’t care if they hammered Roscommon in the I/21 final it will have no bearing further down the road
    How much good has Galways u/age sucess done for them or Roscommon for that matter?
    We have a good team capable of getting us to the promised land and it is time that we stopped showing too much respect to other teams and cut out the negativity get behind them, and dont believe all the crap that is coming from the Dublin camp about like 5 in a row
    All that is a form of intimidation, we beat them before when their tails were up. Mayo to win today by 15 to 20 points

  13. I agree with Philor. Part of Ross’s problem yesterday was the fear they showed off the Dubs in the first half. It reminded me of our AI first half against Kerry in 2004. The sideline seemed to also be in awe of the Dubs and didn’t seem to have a plan to take the game by the scruff of the neck at all. From what I saw on TG4, it was only when the players took it upon themselves to go for it that the Dubs were put on the back foot. There’s a lesson here. The Dubs are gradually getting sucked into a media love-in where they believe they are unbeatable. To hear the young lad who got Man of the Match talking on how they were concentrating all week on “the perfect performance” was music to my ears. It’s only a matter of time until the term “total football” emerges.
    There are some aspects of our own game that need to be addressed and if this was done, I’d be quite happy waiting in the long grass.
    There’s a lot of football to be played between now and September.

    Keep the Faith!

  14. Yet Roscommon were no match for Dublin today in the physical stakes either, which tells you something about where we sit in the scheme of thiing. WJ not so sure was it physical thing as the three Dublin forwards who did a the damage are fairly thin and light.

  15. Yet Roscommon were no match for Dublin today in the physical stakes,

    Not sure would i agree with that Willie Joe, It was pace,Skill and destroyed on the sideline more than anything yesterday.Costello,Mannion,McHugh who scored 1-18 of the 1-21 are all fairly thin and light lads but they couldn’t cope with their movement and pace that fact they gave they them so much room to play was poor management. Part of the plan was to silence the crowd with a quick start and once the Rossies missed the penalty you sensed their goose was cooked.

    Sometimes it probably better for a county like Ross not to win underage title as success can go to their heads and they can become superstars before becoming seniors footballers i think Laois is a prime example of this. The Roscommon side yesterday has plenty of good players that should make the step up to senior level and within the next years they should have a fairly decent senior team.

  16. Hi All,
    I said I would not comment on this page again as I don’t want to over step the mark but I do have massive respect for Mayo people. The only reason for my comment is Galway Exiles comment below which is very frustrating and in poor taste;

    “Dublin is now the black hole that is swallowing up everything and sucking the life out of the rest of the country.”

    Martin the Dub

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