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Dublin: 13°C Wednesday 21 October 2020
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5 talking points as Dublin rout Kildare to close in on Leinster glory again

The Sky Blues are closing in on yet another Leinster title.

1. The Dublin juggernaut

46 points is Dublin’s aggregate winning margin in this year’s Leinster championship.

Jim Gavin’s men are unstoppable in the province and after hosing Longford by 27, they had 19 points to spare against hapless Kildare this afternoon.

Dublin had just six scorers on the day but inside forwards Diarmuid Connolly, Bernard Brogan and Dean Rock contributed heavily.

Ciaran Kilkenny was brilliant in the first half, knocking over four points, and Alan Brogan put himself in the frame for a Leinster final start with three from play after coming on.

Philly McMahon got in on the act with a point too in what was a dominant Dublin display.

Ciaran Kilkenny with Kevin Murnaghan Ciaran Kilkenny scored four first half points for Dublin. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

2. How long can we keep looking at such a lopsided provincial championship?

The calls for change will grow even louder after this Sky Blue rout but the question is: what’s the answer?

Dublin can’t be criticised for their Leinster excellence and the lack of a true has often hampered them when they get out of the province.

In some ways, Dublin become victims of their own success in the All-Ireland series and when we discussed the talking points ahead of the Leinster semi-finals, we wondered would Jim Gavin’s men get the test they needed.

Regrettably, the answer was no as Dublin inflicted a 19-point defeat on Kildare, two years after beating them by 16.

What we watched today was a leading Division 1 team illustrating the huge gulf in class that exists when top-tier sides come up against inferior opposition.

Kildare had a major boost with victory over Laois but they will ply their trade in Division 3 of the Allianz League next year and the difference between the sides was telling at Croke Park.

If Dublin beat Westmeath, as expected, they will claim a tenth Leinster title in eleven seasons.

Jim Gavin It was another good day at the office for Jim Gavin. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

3. Will Dublin get a test from Westmeath?

Jim Gavin will hope so but facing Westmeath will present no fears for the Dublin boss and his players.

Westmeath two years ago was Gavin’s first championship match in charge of Dublin and his team put on a show, beating the Lake County by 1-22 to 0-9.

On today’s evidence, a similar fate could lie in store for Westmeath in the face of irresistible attacking power.

Dublin are much further down the road than Westmeath in terms of pace, power and scoring ability.

The best that Westmeath can hope for is to park the bus and keep the score down because Dublin are a step too far.

It’s been a stunning championship season for Westmeath nonetheless, as they have scored three successive wins, but silverware will elude them.

Jack McCaffrey and Kieran Martin Westmeath hero Kieran Martin and Dublin's Jack McCaffrey will meet in next month's Leinster final. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

4. Can Kildare regroup in six days?

It’s hardly the ideal scenario for Kildare, having to face local rivals Offaly six days after such a heavy defeat.

But that’s the harsh reality for the Lilywhites as they prepare for next Saturday’s qualifier at O’Connor Park in Tullamore.

In one way, the Kildare players will relish the chance to cleanse this one from their systems and the sight of the Faithful County will stir the blood.

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The whiff of sulphur still hangs in the air following a controversial Leinster championship clash between the counties and a senior showdown should whet the appetite.

Kildare boss Jason Ryan faces a number of challenges, chief among them ensuring that his players have recovered mentally and physically for a game where the hits will go in hard and often.

Offaly will feel they can win this, having shown good form against Waterford in their opening qualifier.

Jason Ryan reacts as his side concede a late free Jason Ryan's Kildare must pick themselves up for next weekend's qualifier. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

5. Dublin’s strength in depth

Jim Gavin made two changes before throw-in, bringing Michael Darragh Macauley and Rory O’Carroll into his starting line-up.

Davy Byrne and Darren Daly both dropped out, with Daly introduced with for the closing minutes.

James McCarthy, Alan Brogan, Paddy Andrews and Michael Fitzsimons also came off the bench as Gavin took the chance to run the rule over his replacements.

Brogan’s contribution will have pleased Gavin but the former Footballer of the Year took the simple option with a couple of points when goal chances were there to be created.

Gavin must now decide whether Brogan starts the Leinster final or not, with Dean Rock and Kevin McManamon the most likely candidates to drop out of the team if the manager decides to change.

It’s a nice headache for Gavin and the Sky Blues supremo has options all over the pitch.

Michael Darragh MaCauley with Kevin Murnaghan Michael Darragh Macauley was back in the groove for Dublin. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

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