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'I definitely think Dublin are so far ahead of everybody else, it's actually scary now'

Armagh All-Ireland winner Oisin McConville is in praise of the Dubs.

THE PROVINCIAL FINALS have yet to be completed for the 2017 championship, yet already Armagh All-Ireland winner Oisin McConville feels Dublin will only lose it if their own performance levels drop.

The Dublin team The Dublin players before their Leinster semi-final win over Westmeath. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

The Crossmaglen Rangers native has described Dublin’s superiority as ‘scary’ and while he feels the middle tier in Gaelic football is more competitive than ever, there is a dearth of true All-Ireland contenders.

“The group in the middle seems to be more packed now than it ever has been. There is some minor shocks going on, even how much Meath put it up to Donegal.

“I think is testimony to that or Tipperary going up to play Cavan, so that group in the middle seems to be definitely tightening.

“But I definitely think Dublin are so far ahead of everybody else, it’s actually scary now. They’ve got a cause now as well, with their ability, the backing, the skill, their fitness (and) their physicality.

“I’m yet to be convinced (about Tyrone) on that to be honest. I’m going to hold my counsel until I see them against somebody big.

“I don’t think there’s that many teams can actually win the All-Ireland. Dublin, Kerry and you’d probably stick Tyrone in there but it’s more the lack of other alternatives.

“They were impressive in their first two games but I just wouldn’t be fully committing to that yet because it’s hard to know what exactly they’ve been beaten. I was expecting a lot more off Donegal, I thought Donegal would beat Tyrone and now I’m not sure about Donegal either.

“I thinks it’s Dublin’s to lose themselves. I don’t think it’s anybody else that’s going to snatch it off them, I think it’ll be them just not quite being right on the day if they’re going to lose it.”

Electric Ireland GAA Minors Oisin McConville at yesterday's Electric Ireland Minor Star awards launch. Source: Seb Daly/SPORTSFILE

Despite Mayo contesting three of the last five All-Ireland deciders, McConville is unconvinced they can take the next step.

“I’ve just seen more (of the) same from Mayo. Again they’ll be in the last possibly four because there’s a lack of anything else.

“I don’t think they’re moving well enough. Nothing’s changed as in if you see Mayo and you see somebody stepping up from a forward point of view, it’s always individual.

“It’s never like they got it together as a team (for) any real major moves for goals or anything like that. I think they butcher more opportunities than they score and when you’re doing it, it comes back and bite you, and it keeps coming back and biting them.

“I’m not highly trained enough to know what the solution to that problem is but I don’t see them as being contenders at all this year. I think they’ve gone back.”

Diarmuid O'Connor with Dean Ryan and Martin McMahon Diarmuid O'Connor with Clare's Dean Ryan and Martin McMahon Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

The presence of Down in Sunday’s Ulster final has surprised McConville but he’s still expecting Tyrone to triumph.

“I’ve had a go at them as much as anybody because they haven’t won a game in 18 months. They deserved a little bit of stick.

“Anytime they’ve been under pressure they’ve got a result. They got a result against Meath when they were completely under pressure and needed a win.

“They went down to Cork and kicked a last minute free to stay in the thing (Division 2 league). Even against Armagh, they were written off. More so against Monaghan the last day. That performance really said something about them, I think.

The thing about Down, people think that it’s a generalisation but when they get on a run, they’re very hard to handle because they have a huge amount of confidence.

“Most teams in their situation would have went into the Armagh game or the Monaghan game or even this weekend’s game with their confidence in their ankles but they’re just not made like that.

Darragh O'Hanlon and Kieran Hughes Darragh O'Hanlon in action for Down against Monaghan last month. Source: Presseye/Philip Magowan/INPHO

“You’ll see a bit of that, the Down swagger at the weekend. I know again that’s something I even hate saying because people say that’s something that existed in the 60s or early 90s but they genuinely, it’s something that comes about through confidence.

“But I’d be mightily surprised again if they’re within five or six points of Tyrone. I think Tyrone’s performance the last day will tell you that they’re moving in the right direction.

“One thing that I thought would hurt Tyrone would be them not having that 1-7, 1-8 man that’s going to be the difference, that doesn’t seem to have affected them all that much.

“It may do at time goes on, but they’ll have enough to beat Down I’d say.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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