Last night the Dublin footballers set a record of 35 games unbeaten in league and championship. It is one that is never likely to be broken.
With four leagues in a row and gunning for a third All Ireland on the trot, and a fifth in seven years, the cognoscenti are already debating whether this is the greatest team of all time. If they do win the league and the All Ireland, they will only have one peer, the Dwyer Kerry team(s) of 1975 – 1986.
I say Kerry team(s) because by 1986 only three players from 1975 were there to claim an eight title; Paudie, Pat Spillane and Ger Power. In contrast, of the Dublin starting 15 in 2011, nine are still on the panel, as are three of the four subs used that day. The main continuity between the Kerry of 1975 and 1986 was Dwyer.
The main continuity about this Dublin team are the players. If they do win this year, they will also have achieved the unprecedented feat of winning so much in such a relatively short time span.
Anyway, as Jim Gavin himself, effusively (okay perhaps not effusively) has said, all of that debate is for another day. Hardly anyone was even aware of the unbeaten record until some anorak like myself uncovered it.
When Gavin says it was not a motivation I would be inclined to believe him. Records and statistics and recall of the past are for oul fellas like me. To paraphrase another Dub, George Bernard Shaw: Does who can do, do. Does who cannot, write.