I really hope the All-Ireland Final is settled one way or the other this Sunday. I don’t think I can take any more questions and speculation. ‘Who will win?’ ‘Mayo are under the radar!’ ‘Dublin are over-hyped’…on and on ad nauseam.
Yes, Mayo are probably overdue an All-Ireland title, but whose fault is that? They’ll also find it hard to fly under the radar with pilot Jim Gavin at the Dublin helm.
Our noisy neighbours have done extremely well to make it this far and Stephen Rochford deserves tremendous credit. They’ve elbowed, scraped and battled their way back from a disappointing league campaign and now they stand on the verge of All-Ireland glory.
In the blue corner: Dublin are Dublin. Swashbuckling swagger mixed with occasional madness. From sublime scores to random acts of silliness, they have kept the football championship alive this summer, whether we like to admit it or not. Diarmuid Connolly’s rash moments are eclipsed by moments like game-winning points against Kerry.
While I understand that most neutrals will be cheering on Mayo this Sunday, it’s important to highlight just how good Dublin’s championship has been so far. Their score conversion rate stands at a whopping 61% while Mayo’s is at 50%. 42% of Dublin’s scores come from their own kickouts and that’s an area which Mayo will or should be looking to exploit.
As for individual performances: Dean Rock is key. Cluxton’s kick-outs will be highlighted, but Dublin can always go long and still compete. Dean Rock is a steady presence with a conversion rate of about 87% from all shots. Mayo will have to remain extremely disciplined if they are to avoid gifting Rock shooting opportunities.
As for Mayo, Aidan O’Shea can offer others opportunities in front of goal and Cluxton’s kick-outs will need to be squeezed. After that, it’s up to the green and red to take their chances and make Dublin pay for any indiscipline.
Either way, let’s hope for a good, clean game this Sunday. Mayo may need Sam, but the championship needs them to perform even more.