Three things we learned from the weekend’s GAA

Monday, February 09, 2015 – 11:47 AM

We look at three things that caught our eye in the second week of the National Football League.

HAS JIM GAVIN TOO MANY OPTIONS?

Jim Gavin used 21 players on Saturday at Croke Park as Dublin recovered from their opening-day loss to Cork in the Allianz NFL Division 1 to orchestrate a five-point success over Donegal.

Davy Byrne, Ciarán Kilkenny, Jack McCaffrey, Philly McMahon, Bernard Brogan and Michael Darragh Macauley were all summoned from the substitutes’ bench at various stages at headquarters by Gavin.

McCaffrey, of course, had a significant impact too scoring 1-1 – including an outstanding goal not too dissimilar to the one he registered against the Rebels in the All-Ireland quarter-final in 2013.

Gavin could easily have thrown in another 10 high-quality performers such is the well-documented strength in depth of Dublin.

However, does Gavin know his strongest 15 team?

Is it possible that later on, the Metropolitans might begin to fall over themselves, so to speak, in the summer months?

Quite possibly!

COLM O’NEILL’S CHARACTER

Weaker folk would have hidden in a dark corner after the severe injury troubles Colm O’Neill has endured in the last few years.

However, those that may have doubted his capacity to return to the level of form he was displaying prior to suffering his third cruciate injury can rest easy.

Although the Ballyclough clubman was not overly-involved in open play in Castleblayney, his assassin-like qualities surfaced again as Monaghan conceded defeat to Cork.

As soon as O’Neill gets ball in hand the opposition tends to find itself in serious trouble, and provided he can remain injury-free this season, the Rebels possess a rare attacker capable of dismantling any rearguard.

Above all else though, O’Neill is a shining example to sports personnel everywhere, and of all ages.

His attitude is consistently brilliant and the forward’s mental strength must be incredibly high after what he has been through.

See also: League Sunday panel: ‘Remarkable’ Colm O’Neill the difference for Cork

KERRY’S OFFENSIVE ARSENAL

In the absence of players such as Colm Cooper and James O’Donoghue, Paul Geaney seems to be on a mission to guarantee his place among the household names of the All-Ireland champions.

Geaney, of course, scored 1-2 (0-1 free) in the All-Ireland final last year, but it could be that 2015 represents the year in which he becomes an indispensible component of their attack.

The Dingle clubman, also prominent in Sigerson Cup action for UCC, scored 1-5 in Celtic Park against Derry and was directly involved in another six of Kerry’s scores which is a remarkable return from any attacker.

Yet, Geaney will have to be relentless throughout the league again if he is to remain as one of their nailed-on starting forwards.

Simply put, Kerry’s attacking riches remain the envy of the entire country, especially with Darran O’Sullivan preparing himself for a return to the fold.

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