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The talk among some pundits is that Dublin are coming back into the pack, but I’d worry about that being the truth to be honest. They remind me a lot of the Kerry team I was involved in back in 2009. We stumbled through the early rounds and in the backdoor, but all of sudden once we got to the big games in Croke Park we just cut loose from there to win another All-Ireland.
It was said they weren’t good in their last outing with Meath, but it’s a different story when you analyse the performance of their main players. Cormac Costello scored 1-04, Con O’Callaghan got 1-03 and Ciaran Kilkenny kicked five points. Their key men are still doing the business for them and Dublin won by six points in the end.
Sunday 16:00 – Dublin v Kildare
Meanwhile, on the flip side, Westmeath really put it up to Kildare in the Leinster semi-final. The worry for Kildare boss Jack O’Connor ahead of this match will be injuries to Kevin Feely and Eoin Doyle. If they are missing for this Leinster final, they are absolutely massive losses for The Lilywhites. But, there were some pluses from that contest for Kildare too. Neil Flynn sent over seven points in the game and Daniel Flynn came on to grab 1-01 for himself.
For Kildare to beat Dublin on Sunday, everything needs to go perfectly for them. They’ll want there to be only a point or two in the scoreline at half-time and then they’ll have to go after that third-quarter of the game that Dublin love so much, because the final 15 minutes will be a battleground.
It could be a good thing for Dublin that a lot of people are writing them off. They haven’t been at the level they’ve achieved over close to the last decade so far, but they are probably looking at peaking from an All-Ireland final and not this game. Dessie Farrell’s side will have also found out a lot about themselves in the last two games, despite their struggles with Meath and Wexford.
There are also issues around Stephen Cluxton’s future to deal with too, but sometimes that can have a galvanising effect on a team. The panel can use all that outside talk to drive them on.
Unfortunately for Kildare, they could be walking into a massive backlash from Dublin on Sunday. The game may start out cagey enough, but I just believe Dublin have a greater spread of scorers and they are more than capable of beating the 10-point handicap on offer here.
For this Leinster final, there is only one man I can select to be the first goalscorer and that’s Dublin’s Con O’Callaghan. The Cuala man loves nothing more than putting the ball into the back of the net and don’t be shocked if he raises the opening green flag on Sunday.
As for an anytime net-finder, I’m going to look at the Kildare side of the house. Daniel Flynn really is the obvious choice here. He is a wizard on the pitch and he makes things happen from nothing for Jack O’Connor’s team. He will also be the scorer in chief for the Lilywhites if they are to have any chance of winning this final.
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