Football

Cormac Costello says Dublin attack is ‘starting to click’

The All-Ireland champions are hoping to bank more silverware when they face Derry in this weekend’s Division One final

Cormac Costello could be one of the stars for Dublin on Sunday
Cormac Costello Cormac Costello says the Dublin attack is starting to click as the All-Ireland title defence looms

CORMAC Costello reckons Dublin’s talented attack is “starting to click” just as the business end of the season comes into view.

The Dubs will challenge for their 15th National League crown this Sunday before focusing on the defence of their Leinster and All-Ireland titles.

The signs are positive for Dessie Farrell’s crew who, after losing their opening Division ne game to Monaghan, have conjured their very best form with five wins on the trot.

Dublin struck 5-18 against Tyrone just last Sunday at Croke Park and have won those last five games – against Tyrone, Galway, Derry, Kerry and Roscommon – by a combined margin of 51 points.

The quality and ferocity of their attacking play has stood out and there are no guarantees that eight-time All-Ireland winner Costello, who started the first three games, will even return to the line-up after overcoming a calf injury.

“Our principles have stayed the same for the last three years,” said Costello of their desire to play a high paced, attacking game.

“I suppose it’s starting to click as was seen with the patterns of play in the last couple of games.

“There are more lads who have been knocking around the panel the last couple of years and they’re getting used to the systems of play while there are newer lads being bred into it too. They seem to be flying but at the end of the day it is still March and there’s still a big Championship ahead.”

Con O’Callaghan’s form has improved considerably this year with the Cuala colossus stationed closer to goal for longer periods. As a result, he has been able to load up on scores with 3-4 against Kerry alone and 3-29 in total from seven outings.

“Con is a top class forward,” said Costello.

“He’s very versatile, he could play anywhere on the pitch. What makes him such a great player is that he’s very unselfish and is the ultimate team player.”

The really concerning thing for all of Dublin’s rivals is that they hammered Tyrone last weekend despite fielding just six of their players from last year’s All-Ireland final team.

Boss Farrell has cast his net wide this season, using 51 different players since the start of the year and 31 in the League alone. Derry, meanwhile, have been praised for adding to their panel depth this spring with Diarmuid Baker, Donncha Gilmore and Eunan Mulholland all starting games – though they’ve still used four players fewer than Dublin in the League.

Stephen Cluxton and Michael Fitzsimons have yet to feature for Dublin this year, while captain James McCarthy hasn’t played since his cameo as a sub in round one. The Small brothers, Jack McCaffrey, Paul Mannion and Sean Bugler didn’t start against Tyrone either.

Attacker and free-taker Costello is among a large group of players hoping to break back into the team this weekend.

“I picked up a calf injury before the Galway game which has ruled me out for the last two games but hopefully I’ll be fit for the weekend,” he said.