Sunday: Croke Park, 3.30pm
Referee: David Coldrick (Meath)
TV: RTÉ Two, Sky Sports
Betting: Dublin 10/11,
Kerry 6/4, Draw 15/2
1. If it’s a classic, Dublin will win
In Limerick last August, Kerry set a record straight winning an All-Ireland series classic albeit outside Croke Park. Their poor return in GAA HQ masterpieces remains, however. The 2013 semi-final was a thrilling spectacle, punctuated by Colm Cooper’s excellent first half, but Kerry found themselves on the losing end as they did in great clashes like the 2005 and 1982 finals not to mention the 1977 semi-final.
2. Dublin to rebel
In their two semi-final games, Dublin were scheduled to come out onto the pitch first at the start of the game. On each occasion, they missed their cue. Mayo, keen to remain punctual, weren’t inclined to wait for them. By defying the clár of the day, Dublin likely broke regulations which results in nominal fines. All-Ireland final protocol is tighter but will it stop them?
3. Enright to mark Bernard Brogan
Marc Ó Sé’s hamstring denies him a chance to take a third consecutive stab at marking Bernard Brogan but it’s fair to say Shane Enright is hardly a next best alternative. In All Star form, Enright is the perfect candidate to take up the former footballer of the year who’s vying for another major personal accolade. He’ll have to be mindful of Brogan’s tendency to run from the end-line forward to create space but the Tarbert man is capable.
4. Any outfield substitute could come on
Yes, in what must be a first for an All-Ireland final every one of the 20 outfield players sitting in the comfortable Hogan Stand seats could see game-time. Most if not all of them have already seen action at one time or another this summer but such is the ruthlessness and at the same time fairness of each manager, particularly Eamonn “horses for courses” Fitzmaurice, that they can all fancy their chances of playing a role.
5. Dublin to go 1 to 15 again
Piseógs aren’t as adhered to as regimentally in the capital as they are in Kerry. Then again, Paul Flynn’s admission this week that he must be sitting alongside James McCarthy on the team bus to Croke Park belies that idea slightly. On the last two occasions they’ve beaten Kerry, Dublin have lined out as per programme, ie one to 15. Do they repeat the trick?
6. At least one Kerry curveball
Jack O’Connor was always one for throwing a spanner in the works and we saw it with Declan O’Sullivan moving to full-forward for a large part of the 2011 final with Kieran Donaghy taking up the wing. Darran O’Sullivan was positioned to run at Ger Brennan from centre-forward. Fitzmaurice is no different although he was largely conventional two years ago. He won’t be so this time.
7. Dissenting Dubs
Back in March, Jim Gavin was complimenting his players for not reducing themselves to complaining about decisions made against them by Eddie Kinsella. He can hardly say the same now after two games against Mayo where five frees were converted having been brought forward for dissent. Dublin have not yet mastered the means of communicating with referees. Kerry, on the other hand, are a dab hand at it.
8. Subs to score
Kevin McManamon is the name that stands out but in 2013 Dublin’s bench scored 1-3 excluding the St Jude’s player. Kerry’s forward reinforcements appear the deadlier this year, though, with Paul Geaney and Barry John Keane taking turns in tagging on several scores when they have been kept in reserve.
9. How superstitious is Cluxton?
Dublin captains have traditionally chosen to face the Hill in the second half when they have won the toss. However, Stephen Cluxton opted to play into it in the first half last time out. Just like in the 2013 final, they beat Mayo playing into the Davin Stand end in the second half. Although, in beating Kerry in 2011 and ‘13 Dublin were facing the Hill after half-time.
10. But Kerry have a favoured way too
All but one of Kerry’s eight All-Ireland successes since 1986 have come when they have faced into Hill 16 in the second half, the odd one out being 2010 when Cork played into the terrace in the second half. However, in the deciders that they lost, they kicked into the Hill in both second halves against Tyrone in 2005 and ‘08 although had their backs to it following the interval against Armagh in 2002 and Dublin four years ago.
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