The stats are frightening! When one looks over Leinster contests this decade, Dublin’s supremacy over continues to grow and isn’t showing signs of stopping.
Their “third-string” just won the O’Byrne Cup. They have won the last three Leinster Football Finals by an average of 14.67 points. Six under 21 titles since 2009 resided in the capital. And they are 1/25 to win a 12th Delaney Cup in 13 seasons this year with their nearest challengers Meath 18/1.
Throw-in strong funding from Croke Park and Blue Chip Sponsors, and their recent support from Subaru cars providing vehicles to players and management of the Dublin senior football teams, the ‘Dublin’ machine looks in full force!
At present, Meath’s 5-9 to 0-13 2010 semi-final win is growing in legendary status. Dublin/Meath rivalries were the most eagerly awaited ties. But Dublin’s average winning margin in their last three contests with the Royals has been 11 points.
Provincial structures are being questioned. A Champions League format is being touted! Some suggest that Dublin should be split into two. But should they be ‘punished’ for their success? One quarter of Irish residents live in the capital and they are making good on their substantial talent pool.
There’s hope that Meath can resurrect under Andy McEntee. Cian O’Neill’s Kildare let slip the O’Byrne Cup semi-final by two points. Louth have some momentum while Longford beat Dublin last year.
Work is being done in various counties with Wicklow increasing their volunteer coaches, Offaly opening a Centre of Excellence, Sean Boylan taking a Director of Football role with Meath, and Westmeath and Carlow forming alliances with their respective third level colleges.
Kildare’s two recent Leinster minor titles give hope. History has shown that cycles do end but they can last a lengthy period. The Leinster Council need to improve their structures and appeal.
Bringing Dublin’s quarter-final on the road is a good start. But make it a big deal! The Dubs on Tour! The All-Ireland Champions on Tour! Whether they travel to Carlow or Wexford next May, it should be an event! At least, that will positively appeal to young children in the host county!
In 2011, the average attendance at Leinster championship games was 28,371. Last year, it was 19,298! Dublin shouldn’t be punished for performing at elite levels. But Leinster must take a lead to market this top side as well as opening the doors for new challengers to compete.