“A lot of people would say they were playing against 14-men but when you look at the first 20-minutes, Kerry missed about 2-4. Plenty of opportunities to be well ahead at one stage. And I don’t think if they get those opportunities the next day that they will let them slip. Even take half of that – that would have been 1-2”.
Mickey was one of the few to give Kerry a good chance the first day out.
“Even the last day I was fairly confident they would put up a real good fight”.
Here’s why he feels you can’t take this Kerry team lightly.
“When you look at the quality of the forward line and David Moran at midfield and what he gives them as well”.
Linden heeded the signs coming out of the Kingdom this past few years.
“Although everyone’s perspective was that Dublin were playing so well and the quality they have throughout the team but when you look at what has come through Kerry this last few years and the quality they have, they’re going to be knocking at the door this next few years as well”.
What other reasons could he see for the Dublin juggernaut being halted the first day?
“I think the five in a row has to play on their minds. Possibly getting a draw in that match might settle them down for the next match. They might play a little bit better. That might be a bit of a monkey off their back that they’ve drawn the game and they can go at it again. Definitely, I do think it was a factor. It had to be! When you think about it – the first team to ever do five in a row. There had to be a bit of pressure on them”.
Our conversation also took an interesting turn as to whether Mickey feels he would adapt to the modern game now and fit into that Dublin forward line. The 1994 Footballer of the Year had this to say on the topic,
“I would like to think I would have made that team… There are some fantastic forwards there so it’s keeping your place on that team that’s the problem. There’s so many good forwards on it. I suppose my style of game, the speed I had, taking players on – I think it would have suited the Dublin team. They are all doing that anyway. The Dublin style seems to be running at players and it seems to cause an awful lot of problems for defenders so yeah I’d like to think I could have fitted in there ok”.
Mickey recalled one instance of the Down player led decision making ahead of the Dublin All-Ireland final in 1994. I wonder do the backs now adays have the same autonomy?
“In 94 when Mícheal Magill and Paul Higgins were deciding who was going to pick up Charlie Redmond and who was going to take Dessie Farrell – that came from the team. That didn’t come from the management. They decided themselves who they were going to mark… Pete left it to themselves to decide who they were going to mark in that 1994 all-ireland final. “I’m going to leave it to yourselves lads…” So Mícheal Magill decided he would take Charlie and Paul Higgins picked up Dessie Farrell. It didn’t come from the managers, it came from the players which is probably the best”.
Keep an eye on performancetreanor.com for an article to come in the near future based on the whole 1-hour interview with Mickey. We looked at what it took for him to become the footballer of the year in 1994. The tricks of the trade needed to be a top class forward as well as the importance of having assertiveness to find your way to thrive within a dressing room.