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Greatest of all time? Pat Spillane reckons Jim Gavin's Dublin footballers can achieve that mantle

“In terms of fitness, athleticism and mobility, I’ve never seen a team as good as this.”

KERRY LEGEND PAT Spillane knows a thing or two about winning All-Ireland medals and starring on great teams.

And speaking on The Sunday Game last night, the Kingdom legend expressed the view that Jim Gavin’s Dublin team is on its way to becoming the greatest of all time.

Spillane ranks the current Dubs in third place – behind ‘Heffo’s Army’ of the 1970s, and Mick O’Dwyer’s Kerry vintage that followed.

Spillane says that a third successive All-Ireland win this year would put Gavin’s crop ahead of Kevin Heffernan’s and into second place, still behind Kerry from the late 1970s and early ’80s.

Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

And in a couple of years’ time, should Dublin continue to dominate, Spillane believes they’ll surpass anything that’s gone before.

“We’re often criticised, as pundits, as being too negative and critical of standards and inequalities.

“And we don’t highlight at times when there are great players and great teams.

This Dublin football team is one of the great football teams of all time. Perhaps, in a couple of years’ time, they could be the greatest football team of all time.

“They’re up there with the top three – their record speaks for itself, seven Leinster titles in a row, with an average winning margin of 12 points.

“Their last 40 games in Leinster – 38 victories, one defeat.

“They’re absolutely superb – why? They tick all the boxes – pace, athleticism, fitness, skill, forwards, subs bench, leadership, composure, team ethic.

Bernard Brogan celebrates after the game Bernard Brogan came off the Dublin bench to land five points from play against Kildare. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“But in terms of fitness, athleticism and mobility, I’ve never seen a team as good as this, a team to reach such high standards.

“Do you remember they talked about the term ‘total football’ when it came to the Dutch soccer team many years ago?

“This is total football as employed by Dublin. When you’re on the ball, everyone’s an attacker and without possession, everyone becomes a defender.”

Kevin Heffernan 28/11/1999 The late, great Kevin Heffernan, pictured in 1999. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

When asked to clarify who Spillane rates higher than Gavin’s Dubs, he replied: “Tyrone (2000s) at number four. The Dubs team of the early 70s along with this present Dublin team.

“In those days, Dublin had a tougher run through Leinster (but) if Dublin win the All-Ireland this year, they’re number two.”

And number one ?

“Completely unbiased, a team from down in the deep South.”


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