final showdown | 

Charlie Redmond: Patience is key for Dubs in unlocking Louth defence

Dublin legend suggests home fans may need to wait to celebrate on Finals Sunday

Former Tyrone manager Mickey Harte has done a fantastic job with Louth. Photo: Ben McShane/Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

Charlie Redmond

Patience, patience and yet more patience. That is what Dublin footballers, and their supporters, will need to show in Croke Park today.

For if Louth had 15 men in defence every time Offaly had possession of the football in the Leinster semi-final last month, they are sure as hell going to do the same against Dublin today in the final.

So it will be a case of slowly but surely breaking down the Wee County’s resilience and will this afternoon.

Dublin had plenty of practice at coping with this tactic in their own semi-final, when Kildare used something very similar.

The Dubs got the job done in the end but it wasn’t a great game to watch, as Dublin struggled at times to get going.

Let me make one massive point here. Ever since the famous All-Ireland semi-final of 2014 against Donegal, Dublin have figured out what to do with any massed defence put in front of them.

But back five years ago, Paul Mannion was passing the ball to Ciaran Kilkenny and then he would move it on to Con O’Callaghan.

If there was no shot on for Con, he would shunt the ball on to Diarmuid Connolly, and from there to Bernard Brogan, and then off to Kevin McManamon before someone would find the yard of space needed for a clear shot of goal.

Now, only the first three of those named players are wearing blue shirts and teams are closing them down, knowing well they are the danger men.

They are quite happy to let Lorcan O’Dell, Ross McGarry, Colm Basquel or Niall Scully have the shot for a score – safe in the knowledge that those lads, with due respect to them, ain’t no Dermo or Berno.

So that is why Dublin must be patient, and if Louth want to play massed defence, Dublin must just wait until the time is right to go for a score.

Rushed shots, or efforts for scores from crazy positions, will just feed into Louth’s belief that they can cause a massive shock today.

I’d imagine Dessie Farrell will ask his charges for a sharper start than they made against the Lilies.

The surest way to mess up a massed defence is to be three or four points ahead of the team playing it.

What’s the point of having every player behind the ball if you are adrift on the scoreboard? You now need scores and to get scores you need the ball.

Mickey Harte has done a fabulous job with Louth footballers.

Successive promotions in the Allianz League, and a sound campaign in Division Two this season see them officially ranked as the 11th best team in the country.

Sam Mulroy is a super footballer, as good as there is around, and the team are fit, well-conditioned, and they believe what their triple All-Ireland winning boss is telling them. Why wouldn’t they?

Mickey remarked during the week on the irony of a Tyrone man seeking to help Louth win a Leinster title, 13 years after a Tyrone man’s mistake, referee Martin Sludden, cost Louth a win in the Leinster decider.

That 2010 final loss to Joe Sheridan’s ‘try’ still stings in Drogheda, Dundalk, Ardee, Collon and out on the Cooley Peninsula.

But in truth you cannot see a bad call by the whistler having anything to do with the outcome of today’s game.

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