So a member of the Dublin management team has allegedly head-butted Monaghan forward Tommy Freeman in the tunnel, after Sunday’s high intensity Parnell Park draw. And this, after a number of incidents in last years competition, that drew attention to Dublin’s ‘physicality’. Both on and off the field, Dublin want it to be known, that they are not a side to be messed with.
They go into this years football competition looking to better the 2007 semi-final defeat to Kerry. And they have every chance of at least matching that achievement. But can they go one better?
Their power and fitness cannot be doubted. But whilst their ‘physicality’ means they will not be bullied by their opponents, it may well limit their possibility as a team.
Too much ‘physicality’ can cause absence of focus. Absence of cool, calm, lucid thinking, as the mind transfers power to fuel the adrenalin soaked body. Thinking, critical in the business end of matches as the pressure mounts and bodies fight off tiredness.
Without critical thinking skills, a side can only go so far. For Dublin to transition into All-Ireland champions, they may need to re-examine their physical approach and add a little more finesse.
They have all the physical power they need. Now they need the mental power to match. If that happens, then they may well be crowned 2008 champions. But, they have to make a conscious decision, management and players, that that is a development journey they need to take.
Perhaps the events of Easter in Parnell Park will propel them in that direction. But maybe, when a high premium is put upon ‘physicality’, notoriety becomes a badge of honour. Dublin must beware though, that their pride does not blind them to the truth of their situation.