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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 23 October, 2019
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'Kildare scored six points, Man City scored six goals. Which match would you go to?'

Dublin legend Paddy Cullen says Kerry’s win in Tralee was an example of Gaelic football at its best.

KERRY PULLED OFF their Division 1 victory over Dublin in Tralee on Saturday night by playing football the way it “should be played” according to Sky Blues legend Paddy Cullen. 

Tadgh Morley and Diarmuid O'Connor tackle Brian Howard Tadgh Morley and Diarmuid O'Connor of Kerry tackle Dublin's Brian Howard. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Peter Keane’s charges survived a late Dublin onslaught to eke out a one-point victory, leaving them with three wins from their opening three games of the league campaign. 

Kerry took on the All-Ireland champions with a man-on-man approach, safe in the knowledge they had enough athletes around the field to track the Dublin runners.

“That game on Saturday night epitomises the way it should be played,” said Cullen. “So, if the game is played the way it should be played, that’s what should happen.

“When Monaghan came out against Dublin, they didn’t play like the way they played on Sunday. They went forward and they started playing football and they beat Dublin. What is this thing about going backwards? But Saturday night tears up the backwards blueprint.

That’s the way it should be played. If you want to win, that’s what you are going to have to do. The system of Gaelic football was played on Saturday night. That is what we know as Gaelic football and there’s nothing wrong with it.

“Everybody enjoyed every second of it, I know we were beaten but now Kerry look like they’re coming into something. But it was really enjoyable, entertaining, clean, great scores, missed scores, the excitement around the box, great points and frees taken.

“That’s what you go to see a game for, it’s entertainment. I mean it’s a sport, it’s supposed to be entertainment.”

Kevin Feely Kevin Feely's Kildare went down to Fermanagh by two points. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

While the Kingdom’s win was an advertisement for all that’s good about the game, a far more dour affair took place in Enniskillen the same night.

Fermanagh secured a low-scoring 0-8 to 0-6 win over Kildare, where the Lillywhites scored just one of their six points from open play.

“That’s six points in 70 minutes,” said the three-time All-Ireland winner. “There is something radically wrong there. There were other high scoring game but the game is suffering, we all know that and we won’t go over it. There is a problem and the GAA know we have a problem.

Kildare scored six points, meanwhile Man City scored six goals. Which match would you go to?”

Cullen, who played between the sticks for Dublin between 1966 and 1979, also believes the backpass to the goalkeeper must be outlawed.

“It’s part and parcel of it now. They did it in soccer, I know we shouldn’t be comparing but I played a lot of soccer myself so you just can’t pick it up. A lot of timewasting was eliminated. I just don’t think we need it in Gaelic.

“But you know there is nothing wrong with the game. Nothing wrong with it, if it’s played properly.”

The GAA Launches New Digital Archive with support from the BAI Paddy Cullen was in Croke Park for the GAA's launch of their new digital archive. Source: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

Donegal are bringing a motion to Congress which could see Dublin play two of their Super 8s games outside of Croke Park this summer. Cullen believes that Jim Gavin’s side “will be vulnerable” if that occurs.

“I think Dublin are vulnerable away from home,” he said.

Because it’s always in their psyche. When you go down, you’re out of your comfort zone. We used to be pushed. We had a good team when I was playing.

“We were really becoming kind of unbeatable in a way, I hate saying that, but to the Wexfords and teams like that, they should have been pushovers. But we’d be down in Dr Cullen Park and you’d be just fighting to get out of it. They’d kick the fucking shit out of you.

“They’ll be vulnerable. Definitely. Because you’re coming up against reasonably strong teams who feel that they’re in with a chance. In Croker, they like playing in Croker.

“Everyone does. But there is a definite advantage in Croker, no doubt about it. Everybody knows it. The dogs in the street know it.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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