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14th May 2017

Paul Galvin knows exactly why Dublin were “off the pace” in the league

January holidays are a no-go according to the Kerry-man.

Niall McIntyre

January holidays, call them off.

Dublin weren’t themselves in their 2017 National Football League campaign.

Granted, they were very hard beaten. On many occasions throughout their campaign they looked as if they were on the road to a surprising loss, only to display remarkable character and spirit to snatch a draw or a victory from a losing position. This was none more so apparent than in their remarkable triumph over Monaghan in Clones, where they looked dead and buried with 10 minutes to go.

They didn’t blow teams away with their trademark attacking gusto and flair, however, and they were unable to over-run their opponents like we’ve become so accustomed to seeing them doing in recent times. This lethargy came to a head with their disappointing one-point League-final defeat to Kerry, where the Dubs out-muscled and overpowered by the Kingdom throughout.
Paul Galvin revealed on his column with the Sunday Times his theory on their struggles in the League. This apparent sluggishness had a lot to do with their January holiday in Jamaica according to the Kerry-man.
Dublin played this years O’Byrne Cup with a second-string side as the majority of Jim Gavin’s squad was on holiday in Jamaica as a reward for retaining Sam Maguire last September. These players therefore had little or no competitive game-time going into Dublin’s 2017 League campaign.
“Against Donegal, Monaghan and Kerry they looked one step off the pace,” he said.
Galvin believes the decision made by the Dublin Camp to go on a January holiday was a huge gamble. He referenced January holidays that he has gone on as a player in the past and the adverse affects they had on his fitness claiming you are always “making up ground” as a result of them.

“This is more about timing than a fitness issue. The word on the street is that their January holiday (later than usual for them) is still in their legs meaning they’re a bit short of their normal levels…that theory would make a lot of sense to me…for the first five or six years of my career I spent the first 10 days of January in various far-flung holiday destinations. Making ground up in mid-January was some slog and by 2010 the trend of January holidays had run its course.”

While you are relaxing on holidays, other teams are slogging through their intense winter-training schedules. They are consequently fitter and livelier in the early stages of the League. They have laid their foundations, and you are playing catch-up.

“As we holidayed it’s no stretch to imagine the opposition worked and made up ground on us. That was nobody’s fault. Club fixtures and work pressure gave us little choice but to holiday over Christmas and the New Year.”

It was out of character for Dublin to go on a January holiday according to Galvin, and he isn’t sure how it will affect them in the championship.

“Dublin made up the most ground in those years. Their habit of holidaying pre-Christmas was one of their smartest moves so I was surprised to hear of the January break this year. No doubt they made the call after some consideration with the bigger picture in mind. How it plays out will have a big bearing on how competitive they are in August.”

Jim Gavin will be hoping his side can regain the zip and energy that we associate with them in this years championship.