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Saturday 5.30pm Dublin v Cavan
RTÉ 2 and Sky Sports Mix
You’d have to hand it to Cavan, they were 0-09 to 0-07 down at half-time in the Ulster final as huge underdogs going in and came out in the second half to put in a huge performance to win the game. They just have this ploy of hanging in there in matches and then their mantra is to go at it hammer and tongs in the second half. They seem to have an awful lot of belief in that camp, and it’s been a dream season for them already.
Unfortunately for Cavan, Dublin look hungrier this term than I’ve seen them in a number of years. You only have to look at how experienced lads like Ciarán Kilkenny, Brian Fenton and Dean Rock are performing, it’s some of their best stuff they’ve ever produced. Then you add in that they were able to bring in men like Paul Mannion and Brian Howard off the bench the last day against Meath and that must be hugely demoralising for an opposition player to face. Dessie Farrell also looks to have brought a freshness to them since taking over from Jim Gavin.
Dublin will analyse Cavan and they will be able to pinpoint The Breffni County’s main men, then The Dubs will go straight after those guys from the outset. Dublin are just a different animal, they’ll find your weakness and drill holes in it time-and-time-again. When they get on top, they are just ruthless and I see them winning by 10-12 points here to continue their hunt for a sixth All-Ireland title in-a-row.
Sunday 3.30pm Mayo v Tipperary
RTÉ 2 and Sky Sports Mix
Tipperary set themselves well in that shock Munster final victory over Cork. The Rebels were probably caught out in the way they surprised Kerry earlier in the Championship, but Tipperary – to their credit – had their homework done on Cork. Michael Quinlivan and Conor Sweeney scored 12 points between them that day and those two will be key if Tipperary are to cause another shock on Sunday.
This is a better Tipperary side than the one that faced Mayo the last time in the 2016 All-Ireland Football semi-final and I don’t believe they’ll have any fear of playing Mayo either. Looking at Mayo, all-round you would have to say that they are the better team in this, but I do wonder have they been tested enough?
James Horan has returned to the hotseat and made some big calls in terms of personnel though, so Mayo do look in a better place going into this and don’t forget, they have an extra week’s rest too.
The forecasted weather will keep this tight and Tipp have a chance, but Mayo should have just enough to get over the line. In terms of the first goalscorer though, I can only look at one man and that’s Mayo’s Cillian O’Connor. He should be your pick in most Mayo games and he is their penalty taker too. With Aidan O’Shea in at full-forward dishing off balls to the inside line, that only increases Cillian’s chances of grabbing the opening goal here.
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