Second half subs can steer ship home safely for All-Ireland champs
Dublin v Mayo
Sky Sports Arena/RTE 2, 3.30pm Sunday
Another championship comes to a close, and we are left with the same two teams who met at this stage 12 months ago. Unfortunately for Mayo, it should yield the same result with Dublin climbing the steps of the Hogan Stand and prolonging Mayo’s wait for All-Ireland glory.
Jim Gavin has built a monster in this Dublin team, and they have progressed through the championship with their usual swagger, dismissing opponents with ease and proving they are one of the best outfits to ever take the field.
Tyrone were expected to be the team to finally challenge Dublin, but they passed that test with ease, even without needing the services of Bernard Brogan and Michael Daragh MacCauley, while Diarmuid Connolly was only introduced in the 69th minute.
Their bench is littered with All-Ireland medals and All Star awards, and they will provide the impetus in the second half for Dublin to finish strongly and claim their third All-Ireland Championship in a row. Dublin have shown throughout the year that they improve as the game goes on, so back Dublin to win the second half by four points or more.
Andy Moran has been the go-to man for Mayo in the championship with the 33-year-old the focus of every Mayo attack. Their long-ball game of hitting Moran from distance worked wonders against a Kerry defence that were at sea throughout both games, but he will find it much more difficult against this Dublin defence.
Although hardly tested, they have looked rock-solid whenever they have been under pressure, and Jim Gavin will have them well prepared to nullify Moran’s threat.
Paul Mannion has been in flying form in the 2017 championship, scoring 14 points in four games, including eight against Westmeath in the Leinster semi-final and if allowed some freedom, he will cause some serious problems for the Mayo defence, and should outscore Moran.
Since his senior championship debut in 2001, arguably no player has influenced the game of gaelic football more than Stephen Cluxton. His tactical kickout game has changed the role of goalkeepers from shot-stopper to playmaker.
The Parnells’ man looks to collect his fifth All-Ireland medal, and fourth as captain, and he should also be rewarded with the Player of ohe Year award, to cap off an amazing career.
Dublin -3 on second-half handicap
3pts 5-4 BoyleSports
P Mannion to score more than Andy Moran
1pt 10-11 Paddy Power
S Cluxton to win Footballer of the Year award
3pts 11-4 BoyleSports, Paddy Power
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