The All Ireland Gaelic Football Final - 10 players to watch
Gaelic Football : The All Ireland final is on the 17th September
With the All-Ireland Football Final just two weeks away now the tension is mounting in both Mayo and Dublin as both sides look to win the Sam Maguire Cup. Dublin will be going for their third title in a row and their fifth title in five seasons which is a remarkable achievement for a great group of players. Mayo will be looking for their first All-Ireland title since 1951. The sides met at this stage of the competition last year in Croke Park and after a drawn game, Dublin were victorious in the Replay, so Mayo will be looking to gain some sort of revenge. Both sides will be looking to their key players for inspiration. Here is my look at the key 10;
Andy Moran (Mayo) – Has been Mayo’s best player this year and he is in contention for footballer of the year. Moran who is now in his mid thirties might not get anymore opportunities to lift Sam Maguire and if Mayo are to do so in two weeks time they will need the Ballaghadereen club man at his best.
Brian Fenton (Dublin) – A key player in the middle of the field for Dublin, he has been coming to the fore in games of late. The battle with him, Tom Parsons and Seamus O’Shea is intriguing; he has superb fielding ability, pace and good footballing brain. He is always good to score a few points on his day as well. One to watch certainly.
Cillian O’Connor (Mayo) - Although only 24 years of age O’Connor has done it all already. He was named young footballer of the year two years in a row and he certainly is living up to those accolades in recent years with some superb performances. He will need to get more scores from play if Mayo are to win this game though so more ball in from the midfielders and wing back line would be of benefit to him. Expect Cillian to have a big day in Croke Park for Mayo.
Cian O’Sullivan (Dublin) - Plays an important role for Jim Gavin as sweeper and he has in recent years perfected the role. He is also great going forward and is adaptable to playing midfield and full back if needs be. He will be given the task of cutting out the supply of ball to Andy Moran and Cillian O’Connor.
Dean Rock (Dublin) - The best free taker in the game at present is the Ballymun club man. He is also capable of popping up with crucial goals and with him in the inside line Dublin will pose a massive threat to the Mayo full back line. A big game is expected of Rock.
Colm Boyle (Mayo) – Mayo’s best defender so far this year. He was incredible in the game against Kerry and was man of the match. He is strong, fast, physical and always gives 100% to the Mayo jersey no matter what the score. Boyle is a shoe in for an all star award and a big game against Dublin will surely set Mayo up for an ambush on the reigning champions.
Lee Keegan (Mayo) – Last years footballer of the year has been somewhat quiet this season. He is still one of the best wing backs in the games of course and he is athletic, strong and a pacey type of player that will just keep running and running until the whistle is blown for full time. Keegan will have a major influence on this game.
James Mccarthy (Dublin) – Has been Dublin best midfielder this year. He is a versatile player, can play as a wing back, centre back or corner back. Now at midfield he has even a more licence to go forward to get score and set up attacks. He will be pivotal to Dublin in two weeks time if they are to retain the Sam Maguire.
Keith Higgins (Mayo) – Has been there for Mayo when times got tough over the last 10 years. He is a sticky, no nonsense defender and always has a good game in the green and red of Mayo. He normally plays a sweeper or man marker role and he will be on Dublins best forward on the day. A massive game is needed as usual from Higgins.
Kevin McMenamon (Dublin) – Has been Jim Gavin’s go-to man off the bench. He is always capable of getting a goal just like he has done in All Ireland Finals before. He could start but his impact of the bench in the last 10 minutes could be the difference between the teams in the end.