When we talked about the start of the Championship last May, two of the teams we’d have spoken about as likely to figure in the All-Ireland final were Dublin and Mayo.
Dublin form throughout the whole year has been excellent. Not only are they dominating Leinster Championships every year, but they are also four-in-a-row National League winners and are back in the Ireland final, for a crack at two-in-a-row, playing the best football.
Mayo have staggered through the backdoor and it’s been a right stagger, particularly over Tipperary, and the standard of football in that semi-final wasn’t nearly as high as in the Kerry v Dublin game.
So everything points to a Dublin win at .
I’m not a great believer in fairy tales and I don’t think the Dubs are like the Greeks dispensing gifts.
Of course Mayo can do it, and if they produce one big performance they’re champions for life.
They’ve done it a couple of times during the years, when they’ve played well right up to the final and didn’t do it on the biggest stage.
Mayo will have to do it in reverse at this time.
Mayo have been on the road a long time and they’re beginning to show a bit of wear and tear.
Maybe the players themselves have subconsciously decided to do less this year.
In this case, they’ve come the easy route and there’s probably is one big performance in them. However, they can’t sustain periods of excellent performances. Whereas the Dubs they’re different, in that they can throw in five or six subs that will make a material difference in the game.
Mayo can’t do that, so they still rely on that hardcore and they have to produce one big showing on Sunday.
I think the game against Kerry showed the patience and resilience of Dublin. They’re at their most dangerous in the last ten or 15 minutes, when they overwhelm teams through fitness and of course skill.
Dublin will beat the (-3.0) handicap if conditions are good on Sunday and I think they will be weather wise.
It could make for a free-scoring, open game and the bet of over 37.5 points at could be beaten as well.
If you look at the Dubs they are running up points totals of over 22 quite regularly. If they’re able to do that, Mayo are quite capable of making up the rest to get over 37.5 points.
The possibility is if Dublin start scoring goals, which they haven’t been doing recently, they could run up a big total.
As I said, Dublin haven’t been good at finding the net, and if Mayo are to win they probably realise they should go for goals.
Maybe they should try and spurn easy points chances and go after the green flag, because I believe they need about three goals to win.
With Cillian O’Connor being the penalty taker he’d have to be a good bet to score first at , or on Diarmuid Connolly on the other side. They’ve have the added advantage of not only can they score from open play, but if there’s a penalty they are likely to still it in the net.
It’s absolutely likely that both teams will score a goal at as well.
Forwards mainly get RTÉ Man of the Match awards and players who run up a big score in All-Ireland finals generally get it.
Brian Fenton got it last year (he’s this year), but usually it’s forwards that win it. Maybe pundits are made up of more forwards than backs, and therefore they tend to go with their fellow frontmen.
It’s very much down to the O’Shea’s (Aidan who’s and Seamus at ), or for Cillian O’Connor to win the award on the Mayo side.
I’d go for Diarmuid Connolly at though, he’s in brilliant form and there’s a big, big performance in him.