Flynn fired up for Donegal challenge

by Stephen Findlater
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PAUL Flynn believes that Dublin will come up against a much further evolved version of Donegal’s defensive system this weekend when the counties meet in Croke Park in the All-Ireland senior football championship semi-final at 3.30pm

Their style had been likened to that of Monaghan who Dublin dismissed in the last round with a first half blitz that all but killed off the game.

The Fingallians’ man says that the Farney did not hit full stride and adds that James McGuinness’s Donegal side are a completely different prospect, especially in comparison to their last championship meeting in 2011.

Since that 2011 semi-final tie – which the Dubs won in a 0-8 to 0-6 slugfest – en route to the All-Ireland title, there has been plenty of bad blood between the sides in the national league meetings.

Dublin have opened up markedly since then with Jim Gavin instilling a fast-paced, attacking style that saw them run up an aggregate 7-66 in just three Leinster championships games, averaging over 17-point winning margins.

The 2-22 to 0-11 win over Monaghan showed their ruthless streak in devastating fashion with Flynn part of an exceptional forward unit but he says they will be pushed all the way by the finest purveyors of the blanket defence.

“Monaghan are a better team than what we witnessed and didn’t play as well as they can,” Flynn told GazetteSport.

“But Donegal are more mature in their system and have developed it. Two good teams but I would say it will be a very different challenge.

“It will be tough for us to break down but we have a team of guys with a great mental resolve and belief in the way we play that, if we play for the entirety of the game, we can break down a system like that.”

As two of the sides to innovate and excel in their respective styles, Flynn adds that both sides are raising the level of the sport, something he says is widespread and not solely confined to Dublin’s borders as many contend.

“With any squad I have been involved with in the last seven years, there’s always been quite a professional approach. All the county teams have adapted to similar setups.

“I would know a bit about other teams from my time in college; there didn’t seem much difference in regard to the set-up of backroom teams. It might be becoming more professional but it is only making the game a better spectacle.”

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