The Dublin team of the 2010s dominated the football championship like no other. 8 All-Irelands won in a decade, including 6 in a row. It is astounding that they went from this level of domination to playing division 2 football for the first time in 20 years.
The most obvious answer is the departure of mastermind manager Jim Gavin which was the beginning of the end of the dynasty. They managed to stay the course and win the sixth in a row in the year following his departure, but the signs of a team in decline were there. Dessie Farrell may very well be a great manager, but he is no Jim Gavin.
The lack of young quality players is another factor in the decline, but what is constantly overlooked about this Dublin side is the evolution they went through in the decade. Only two players played in both the 2011 and 2020 victories which is uncommon for any kind of dynasty who usually rely on several key figures. This unprecedented level of constant success while going through this amount of change is something we probably will never see again.
This lack of talent coming through was something that was expected however, with Dublin’s lack of success at underage level with one under-20 All-Ireland win in the last decade and one minor win in the last 35 years. With the departures in recent years of the likes of Bernard Brogan and Stephen Cluxton not being replaced they could never be the same team.
The departure of Cluxton particularly hurt this Dublin team who relied on his excellence from the kick out to start many of their attacks. He is comfortably the greatest goalkeeper this sport has ever seen and replacing him with even a good intercounty keeper would be a massive downgrade.
Where does Dublin go from here? They would hope to have a good championship campaign and the minimum that is required is to keep their decade long stranglehold over the Leinster championship alive. They will have to hope that they find some of the old Dublin spirt after that and make an unlikely championship push,
Next year will be determined with the championship in regard to who will take charge of the team because if this form continues it will be hard to see how Dessie Farrell can comeback from that. I expect that Division 2 will be a stroll for a team containing so many talented figures. They say nothing lasts forever, but the Dubs will hope they will be the exception and not the rule.