Horan set to opt for same again against Dublin

James Horan is expected to name an unchanged starting team today ahead of Sunday’s All-Ireland SFC final with Dublin.

Horan set to opt for same again against Dublin

The Mayo manager could make one change on the bench where Kenneth O’Malley is anticipated to come in for Brendan Walsh as sub keeper following the Ballinrobe custodian’s recovery from an ankle injury picked up in June.

However, Cillian O’Connor will start after coming through last weekend’s Reds versus Greens training game unscathed. Former Mayo captain Noel Connelly believes it’s the right call but expects the young footballer of the year to be physically tested by Dublin early on.

“For such a young fella he has such a mature head on his shoulders. With the history there we have lost a lot of finals early so you’ve got to start him,” he said.

“If he only lasted 15 or 20 minutes to give us a foothold he’d do a job. I don’t know if he will last the full game depending on the type of physical contact he will come into.

“They will be physical to a degree and Dublin will play their natural game and go toe to toe. It’s going to be physical alright. I don’t think it’s going to be a free-flowing game. Keith Higgins may start in the half-forward line but once the kickouts have been fired out he’ll be landing between three and six very quickly.”

Another reason for him believing this game will not be the classic that’s being anticipated is the four red cards handed out to Dublin players in their last four meetings with Mayo.

“It’s such an intense affair. Tackles will be made in haste. Awkward tackles can be made. The way the games are policed referees are judging it by the letter of the law.

“It’s really down to the rules. I can’t remember a brawl in those four games, it’s just been the referees following the letter of the law. It’s more difficult to pull the rules heavy in a final though. Referees are sometimes careful not to make the wrong names for themselves.”

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