HomeFootballOffaly captain Lee Pearson sees bridging gap to Dublin as feasible: ‘Ultimately,...

Offaly captain Lee Pearson sees bridging gap to Dublin as feasible: ‘Ultimately, it will be a goal of ours’


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“In terms of their fitness, power, strength, speed, it really does tell. It’s one thing when you’re in the stand looking at them, but when you’re on the grass and they’re running at you, or running by you, and you’re in the tackle – you know they’re tough in the tackle – that’s when you really see the difference in the levels.”

The Edenderry player, who won an All-Ireland U-20 medal in 2021, still feels that bridging the gap to compete against the leading counties is feasible.

“I think it is, if you look at the likes of Monaghan, Cavan, Roscommon, who put up good results in their provincial championships and the latter stages of All-Ireland championships, counties of similar size, probably similar resources.

“So it is possible. It can be done. Now, it will take time. It’s not going to be a case where next year you are competing with Dublin. But, ultimately, it will be a goal of ours.”

Offaly fell short in their promotion bid from Division 3 but had an uplifting win over Laois in the Leinster Championship in Portlaoise, earning them a crack at the All-Ireland champions.

“We probably gave an OK account of ourselves for the first 60-65 minutes,” Pearson says of the Dublin match.

“The last few minutes, the difference in class really shone through. So we were a bit disappointed with the last 10-15 minutes of that game, but there’s plenty of positives to take from it, I thought. Some of our attacking moves were good. For some of it, we were OK defensively.

“But, ultimately, it was nice to challenge ourselves against probably the best team that’s ever played the game.”

Pearson, pursuing an economics and French degree at Trinity College, also favours playing Leinster Championship matches against Dublin outside Croke Park, noting Clare’s spirited performance in last Sunday’s Munster final in Ennis.

“It might give you a small bit more of an edge. Now, ultimately, it probably wouldn’t have affected the result of the [Dublin v Offaly] game, but it probably will be something the GAA will look at going forward, looking at some of those provincial finals out of Croke Park.

“You’d probably have a bit more hype as well around the game if it is in one of these Leinster town grounds.”

The last Offaly captain to lift a national senior football title, Finbarr Cullen, was from Pearson’s home town.

“It’s something I’d have been acutely aware of,” he says, referring to Cullen, who led Offaly to the Division 1 league title in 1998. “So I suppose to be on the steps of the Hogan Stand come the end of July lifting the Tailteann Cup would be amazing. I think it would be the highlight of our season and my career so far.”

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