Dublin’s 35 Game Unbeaten Record

Dublin’s victory over Roscommon was their 35th unbeaten game in a row, breaking a record set by Kerry in 1933.

A comfortable 2-29 to 0-14 showcased the Dubs at their irresistible best. The hard work and sheer talent on show demonstrated why this Dublin side deserves to be hailed as among the very best to ever play ball in the capital.

This historic unbeaten run came as a result of the team’s quality and guile, but also due to the favourable conditions that the Dubs have found themselves over the past three years.

Assisting Dublin was the lack of top quality opposition during this period. Donegal began declining once Jim McGuinness resigned and Tyrone suffered a false dawn in 2015 and 2016.

Kerry only look to be seriously arresting their steady decline since 2009 with this current squad of players. Mayo have always been four forwards short of being serious challengers to Dublin’s supremacy.

The once competitive Leinster Championship has looked a shadow of itself for over a decade. Even when Dublin were failing to progress in the All-Ireland they managed to win five titles in a row between 2005 and 2009.

Circumstances were favourable for a Dublin takeover, but that should not diminish the magnitude of their achievement in any way. This level of consistency is almost unprecedented.

It is no accident that this record has stood for over eighty years. There have been numerous great sides down the years since the 1930’s and none have ever overturned Kerry’s legacy until now.

There are two chief reasons that Dublin broke the record. The first of these is the staggering strength in depth of this squad.

There were 13 different scorers in the match against Roscommon. The likes of Diarmuid Connolly, Jack McCaffery and Michael Dara Macauley did not even start the match.

McCaffery won Player of the Year in 2015, spent 2016 working abroad and in his absence Dublin still won a second consecutive treble. Try to imagine Sean Cavanagh taking a year off in 2009 and Tyrone barely missing his absence.

Dublin’s Jack McCaffrey receiving his 2015 Player of the Year award.

The second reason for this record breaking run is the incredible mental strength of this group of players. Perhaps their years in the wilderness taught them some lessons in pain they never wished to experience again.

Other teams might have been psychologically destroyed by the great Donegal ransack of 2014. Other teams might have been distraught at their incompetence in the first-leg of the 2016 All-Ireland final.

Yet these players always come back to avoid defeat despite falling into some untenable situations down the years. The credit for this must be laid at the feet of Jim Gavin.

Some might argue that this Dublin side is one of the greatest in the history of the game. Whether or not this is true is difficult to parse, but there is no one who can dispute that Gavin is among the very finest managers Gaelic Football has ever known.

Since taking the helm in 2013, Gavin has won 11 of the 12 major competitions he has contested. He installed a winning mentality that cured the propensity for collapse that had plagued Dublin since 1995.

This unbeaten run is another cornerstone in his already legendary legacy. One wonders just how many more matches his Dubs can avoid defeat.

Brion Hoban

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