Conor Mortimer: If we knew about the blanket defence in 04 and 06 we damn sure would’ve used it

Our Mayo legend backs Carlow’s right to defend for their lives and calls for more help for players on drug testing...

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Following their first Leinster championship win since 2011, Carlow will face the daunting task of facing the Dubs in O’Moore Park on Saturday.

The Barrowsiders will in all likelihood throw bodies behind the ball, which they’ll inevitably be criticised for by the likes of The Sunday Game and in some sections of the media.

For the life of me I don’t understand why the bigger sides never seem to face the same criticism for doing exactly the same. When Dublin lose possession, they get men behind the ball. When Tyrone lose possession, they get men behind the ball. When Mayo lose possession they get men behind the bloody ball!

Donegal won an All-Ireland with the blanket defence. Everyone does it, it’s the way the game has gone.

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They just have more quality when they’re attacking and have a greater ability to break at pace.

The likes of Carlow might keep an extra one or two back because they don’t have the quality going forward, but the tactics are very similar. If you don’t have 15 players better than the 15 you’re playing against, of course you’re not going to go 15 vs 15 because you’re not going to win the game.

If we had known back in 04 and 06 about putting players behind the ball you can make damn sure that we’d have done it, we didn’t have players of the same quality as Kerry did at the time.

We went man on man and got hockeyed – twice.

Waterford went out last weekend against Cork and set up defensively, they had every intention of winning the game and came so close to doing it.

These types of tactics can act as a leveller, so there’s no way that Carlow should get any stick if that’s how they choose to approach the Dubs on Saturday.

I’m supportive of drug testing but players need to be educated properly

There’s been an awful lot written about PEDs in the GAA this week and while I don’t believe the sport has a problem with doping, players could get be educated more on what they’re taking.

In most counties lads are given a booklet at the start of the year of what you can and can’t take, that’s it then for the year.

The GAA has to put more emphasis on player education – as does the county’s medical teams – because players have enough to be doing rather than chasing someone to see if it’s alright to take a Lemsip.

People who say that players are amateur and shouldn’t be tested are missing the point. It’s the competitive game played in the public eye and if they weren’t testing, there’s every likelihood that lads would be going out juicing to get an advantage or to get on to a county panel.

At the minute players can only be tested after a game or at training and I personally think that it might be a good thing that they could be tested at any time as they would have more of their mind on it.

Most of the issues that have reared their head have been down to lack of knowledge and I firmly believe that the GAA should invest more in educating players.

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What do you think?