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Tyrone have the tools to cull the champions and book final ticket

Sludden could be the star

Peter Harte has developed into a star for Tyrone
1 of 1

All-Ireland semi-final
Sky Sports Arena, 4pm Sunday

Tyrone have the tools to dump Dublin out of the All-Ireland football championship and Mickey Harte's men should be supported at 13-5 to cause an upset at Croke Park on Sunday. 

Con O'Callaghan and Paul Mannion have been Dublin's deadly duo in 2017, transforming themselves from fringe players into certain starters, but both are likely to be suffocated by a tenacious Tyrone defensive system who have dominated attackers of that class all year.

Dean Rock has excelled from open play this term too, but he has struggled to win possession in congested areas in the past and he could be in for a frustrating afternoon too. That is what Tyrone do. They frustrate teams. They did not give Donegal a sniff and so demoralised were Rory Gallagher's charges that they exited the qualifiers with a whimper against Galway. 

Kerry waltzed into the All-Ireland semi-final without a scare along the way and they were caught cold by Mayo in the early stages on the drawn encounter. Something similar could happen in the second semi-final as Dublin have not needed to accelerate out of second gear to get here. 

Jim Gavin must have spent most of the last six months preparing to meet Tyrone in an All-Ireland semi-final but you can only do so much in training and the reality could be very different.

Rewind to early February and Tyrone's league encounter with Dublin. For 50 minutes of that outing, they destroyed Dublin. They were five points to the good halfway through the second half and it was only fitness that stopped them from coming out on top. It ended in a draw but the visitors were the better team.

Dublin's loyal band of supporters will tell you that the Dubs still had the tan from their team holiday and it would be foolish to read too much into the early-season encounter but the fact is that Tyrone had the tools to cut through Dublin that night.

Niall Sludden was sublime. He kicked three points from play and set up the goal. He has carried that form into the championship and was the best player on the pitch in the win over Donegal, getting four points from play. The lightning quick number 11 is tailor-made tp face a team like Dublin. He runs off shoulders and is unstoppable in full flow. This could be the day when he announces himself as one of the most lethal forwards in the country. 

Sludden can be backed at 18-1 to win the man-of-the-match award on RTE's The Sunday Game and that looks great value. It is also worth backing the pacy attacker to score more than Dublin's Ciaran Kilkenny at 8-11 with Paddy Power.

Dublin allow teams to shoot from distance. That was evident against Kildare in the Leinster final and at various stages of their All-Ireland quarter-final showdown with Monaghan.

Padraig Hampsey, Sean Cavanagh, Mattie Donnelly and Sludden have proved that they can score at will from outside the 45-metre line so it would be foolish for the Dublin defence to allow them to let fly from distance.

Colm Cavanagh is the best sweeper in the country and has perfected the art. Tiernan McCann and Hampsey have the canny knack of entering attacks late on the blind side and causing havoc, while Peter Harte remains one of the most influential and intelligent footballers in the country.

Of course, Dublin are an extraordinary team and it will take something special to beat them. They can now call call upon Diarmuid Connolly too as his 12-week suspension is over and it seems certain that Gavin will use him from the start.

Brian Fenton and James McCarthy have the legs and the physique to do damage around the middle third of the field but it is up front where there are real concerns about Dublin. Mark Bradley, Sean Cavanagh and Sludden are used to living off scraps in congested areas, Mannion and O'Callaghan are not. They thrive in open spaces and this will be a huge test of their resolve - one that they may not pass.

Dublin have a brilliant bench and can call upon Bernard Brogan, Eoghan O'Gara, Paul Flynn plus numerous other experienced players in the second-half, but Tyrone too have plenty of talent in reserve too.

Indeed, Lee Brennan is arguably the most talented player on either bench. Ronan O'Neill has already shown what he can do when called upon with two brilliant goals in the win over Armagh. With Conor Myler and Darren McCurry there too it's fair to say that Tyrone's bench is just as strong as Dublin's.

Tyrone's time has come and it's not fanciful to expect them to be strong favourites to lift the Sam Maguire come Monday morning.

Tyrone have conceded an average of 12.25 in their four championship clashes, yet you can get 10-11 about Dublin scoring 18 points or fewer. That's worth taking.

Recommendations
Tyrone 
2pts 13-5 Betway
Dublin under 18.5 points 
2pts 10-11 Paddy Power 
Niall Sludden to score more than Ciaran Kilkenny
2pts 8-11 Paddy Power 
Niall Sludden to be man of the match
1pt 18-1 Paddy Power 

Tyrone's time has come and it's not fanciful to expect them to be strong favourites to lift the Sam Maguire come Monday morning
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