Dublin and Mayo face off on Saturday evening for the biggest prize in Gaelic football, and the men from the capital are heavily fancied to retain their crown.
The Sky Blues are hunting an unprecedented sixth consecutive title, while Mayo are hoping to end a 69-year drought.
Ahead of the Croke Park showdown between the rivals, the Sky Sports pundits gazed into the crystal ball and have their predictions for the final.
“Dublin are human,” said the former Donegal boss – the last manager to oversee a championship win against the Dubs.
“For all the incredible football that they have played, they haven’t blown teams out of the water on All-Ireland final day, and there’s a reason for that – it’s the All-Ireland final. It’s a huge day on the Irish sporting calendar – the biggest. So they know the significance of this. And in some instances, you just want to go in there and win it, and want get home with the trophy.
“So that levels the field a wee bit. If they go in and beat Mayo by 10 points plus, we have a problem. We really do have a problem based on the fact that this [Mayo] team is well conditioned.
“But I’m going to stick with Mayo, just by virtue of the fact that I tipped them at the beginning of the year. I’m excited to see them for real in championship football against a team that’s going to bring it. I think they are going to bring it.
“Mayo could be brilliant for 55, 60 minutes, and still get beaten by eight points. That’s the reality of the situation. You’ve got to be able to do it for 80 minutes and go all the way.
“I’m not going to jump off the horse now. I said it at the time when I tipped them that it was an outside chance. I still believe that. I still believe it’s an outside chance. But all neutrals will be plugging for them.”
“I don’t think the bookies are too far wrong,” opined the Kerry native. “My heart would love to see this group of Mayo players get over the line. I think the rest of the country would too.
“In this year of years, they might pull it off. But to me, I see Dublin [winning] by four-to-six points, and seeing out the game comfortably enough.
“They are a serious group of players. I think Dublin absolutely can’t wait for this game. The pressure of the five in a row last year has gone off them. And now they are in complete bonus territory. And they can’t wait to put all their skills on display, and show just how far ahead they think they are of the rest of the bunch. They want to prove it on Saturday.
“Mayo will bring plenty, but I just think Dublin will have too much.”
“I fancy Dublin strongly,” said the former Tyrone star.
“They will feel they haven’t performed in a lot of All-Ireland finals to their full potential. I think that’s the challenge that Dessie Farrell is going to set for his team.
“As much as Mayo will have so much neutral support around the country, and will put in a monumental effort, the facts and the stats indicate that if Dublin perform, Dublin will win with something to spare.”
Watch Dublin vs Mayo live on Sky Sports Mix from 4pm Saturday.
Source: Read Full Article