“There’s still control from the players to make the decisions on the pitch”

By Daire Walsh

FIVE-TIME All-Ireland winner Denis Bastick believes the Dublin senior footballers are undergoing an evolution rather than a revolution under the management of Dessie Farrell.

The former Sky Blues attacker stepped into the breach late last year to replace Clondalkin native Jim Gavin and, following comprehensive victories over Westmeath and Laois, will hope to guide his charges to a Leinster SFC title at the expense of Meath in Croke Park this Saturday.

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Denis Bastick

In the absence of spectators, Bastick has noted the communication levels on the field of play are as strong as they’ve ever been.

“I think what’s evident is that there’s still that control from the players to make the decisions on the pitch. I think that’s quite evident in the players.

 

You can hear it a bit more with no fans, in that there’s a huge amount of control being influenced by players talking,” Bastick explained.

“That just kind of shows you that the guys are in control or trying to control the game. There’s loads of communication between each other. I think that’s just a follow on from what’s built up in experience over the years with the team.”

Last Sunday’s 2-23 to 0-7 win over Laois was a productive outing for Bastick’s Templeogue Synge Street colleague Niall Scully, who finished with 0-3 to his name.

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Templeogue’s Niall Scully hit three points in Dublin’s emphatic victory over Laois

 

There was also local interest in the performances of Robbie McDaid (Ballyboden St Enda’s) and Tom Lahiff (St Jude’s), the latter being a newcomer to the panel in 2020.

Whereas Bastick often had a gap of several weeks between each of his provincial championship appearances for Dublin, the current squad are busy preparing for a third game in as many weekends. From the Tallaght man’s point of view, this is something that inter-county footballers will relish.

“We had four weeks between some Leinster games, a full month of training. As a player it’s now great, because they’re coming thick and fast. Especially as a starting player, it’s got to be great. It’s going to be difficult for guys to show form in training games.

The more games the better, the quicker they come the better. It leaves you less time to think about it.”

Long identified as a major challenger to Dublin’s throne, Kerry’s campaign came to a shock end at the hands of Cork in last Sunday week’s Munster semi-final. With no backdoor route in this year’s competition, Bastick feels no team can be taken for granted.

“Definitely Kerry would have been number two in terms of favourites for the championship. To see them gone it’s kind of a little eye-opener. We all kind of felt with it being back into knockout championship with the weather being poor that this could happen, but we’ve got it first hand now,” Bastick added.

“It could happen Dublin if they’re not aware. The weather and pitches, it brings the teams back down to a level where the gap isn’t that big. It could happen again, there could be more shocks to come.”

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