James Horan: Teams are "pushing the boundaries" in search of supremacy

Dublin and Kerry meet in the league final on Sunday

Kerry, Dublin

Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Dublin and Kerry meet this weekend in the Allianz Football League Division 1 final, in a game which is certain to set the tone ahead of an enthralling championship campaign.

Dublin already this year have surpassed Kerry's record of going unbeaten in consecutive league and championship games and go into the league final unbeaten against the Kingdom in their last two meetings.

Kerry boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice said this week that there was a "lack of balance" toward his players and said that this Dublin team possess a "seriously hard edge" which they have used to their advantage during games.

"I think that the Dublin team are a serious team that we have the utmost respect for," he said. "They're a fantastic footballing team, an attacking footballing team with brilliant players and an outstanding manager but make no mistake, they've a hard edge about them, and a seriously hard edge.

"Going back to 2011, when Declan O'Sullivan was taken out of it. Going back to the 2013 All-Ireland final, when they were basically a man down for the last five minutes and they had to tactically foul to see it out.

"Going back to the end of All-Ireland semi-final last year, when one of our players was wrestled to the ground and basically choked."

On tonight's Off The Ball, former Mayo manager James Horan addressed the issue of teams having a so-called "hard edge".

"Kerry, Dublin, Mayo and Tyrone, these teams are pushing the boundaries," he said. "They're trying to get advantages wherever they can.

"This goes from strength and conditioning, game development, skill, fitness and everything. At the end of the day, they've got to train and play within the rules. There's a referee, linesmen and umpires there that do have to ref the game.

"It's not that there's these out of control guys going out onto a field. Every successful team are trying to get an advantage somewhere, somehow."

He added: "It's always important that there's a strong ref there that can umpire the game."