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09th Feb 2018

“Dublin play 15 behind the ball. People talk about their attacking football but it’s a myth”

Conan Doherty

Ryan McMenamin has never been afraid to speak his mind.

Obviously he marked out a reputation for himself on the pitch as someone who likes a bit of ‘banter’ but he selected his victims carefully. Since his retirement, the GAA world has started to learn more that, actually, the Tyrone legend is a deep thinker and a real Gael.

As Sean Cavanagh bowed out and took the last of that great three-time All-Ireland-winning Tyrone team with him, you’re seeing more and more of them now influencing the game from the sidelines. Stephen O’Neill has joined Mickey Harte, Brian Dooher has done serious work underage and Peter Canavan has already reached inter-county senior management. Ryan McMenamin, now, is alongside Rory Gallagher at Fermanagh.

The Erne County are threatening a resurgence. The team looks good, the Quigleys look frightening, and the enthusiasm is strong within the county.

But Ryan McMenamin has had it with Jim Gavin’s Dublin being held on this moral pedestal. Dublin, he says, are just like the rest of them. They have to get back in numbers and they get everyone back when they have to.

“People talking about Dublin… I watched Dublin against Tyrone in the All-Ireland semi and I’ll keep coming back to it; Dublin play 15 behind the ball no matter what the media thinks of what they do or no matter what Joe Brolly thinks,” McMenamin said on The GAA Hour.

“Watch the semi-final and you’ll see the Dublin players sprinting backwards, sprinting to get behind the ball. They have 15 players inside their own 45′ and I was up watching them on Saturday against Tyrone and there was no difference. People say about them and attacking football but, to me, it’s a myth. They’re just a hard-working team.

“I look at Slaughtneil a lot, and Slaughtneil play with a defensive system but it’s an attacking one as well, where they try to get as many scores as possible spread throughout the field. They don’t have one outstanding forward. They try to get maybe seven scorers and I think that’s the dream for every team”

It falls in line with what Cian Ward was saying the Monday previous. Dublin don’t have these designated players that hold the line and keep the attacking shape. They filter back together and they break forward together.

But when they attack, they all attack and it is still beautiful to watch. No-one would deny that.

Listen to McMenamin’s full thoughts on the matter below.

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