Posted by Shane Stapleton
Wednesday 28 August 2013
Despite that, the bookies are dead set on Jim Gavin’s Dublin side and have set a price of 4/9 to see them book a late September date with Mayo.
Both Kerry and Dublin come into the game as provincial champions, with Cork and Meath respectively beaten in those finals. Our eircom GAA ambassador Ciaran Whelan is backing his native county but feels there is plenty of fight in the old enemy.
“I think Dublin,” Whelan says. “The only fear I would have for Dublin is that in the first half of the Munster final, Kerry played some devastating football against Cork. If they play like that, they’re very hard to beat and they still possess six of the best forwards in the country.”
We asked Whelan whether that Munster final win for Kerry was about the Kingdom being good or a naïve Cork gifting the title to their neighbour.
“Well it might have been down to Cork being bad but Kerry were very much up for that game. They ball they played in was low to the forwards and it exposed weaknesses in the Cork back line. They may look to expose Dublin in that regard.
“But if Dublin can break even in midfield and stop that supply of quick ball into the forwards, Kerry might have trouble. The Kingdom, in my opinion, are lacking a bit of pace in defence and I think they’ll struggle with the options Jim Gavin’s side have in the forward line.
“I can’t see beyond a Dublin victory but Kerry are lying low in the grass; they’re quieter than they have ever been. You’d always worry about that as a Dub. Dublin came through a Leinster final and an All-Ireland quarter-final with plenty to improve on and if they hit form, Kerry will need a massive performance.”
Fellow eircom GAA ambassador Michael Murphy, last year’s All-Ireland winning captain, is also hanging his hat on Gavin’s side.
“It will be a massive game and you could never write off Kerry because of the star players they have from one to 15,” murphy says. “I just think this year that Dublin have stepped it up a notch or two again and you think about the pace they have in the team, it’s frightening. They’re just a quality side throughout.
“I think it will be a very close game and both teams won’t fear each other but, at the end of the day, I think Dublin will come through.
We asked Murphy who he sees as the form players going into this semi-final. “Paul Flynn and Michael Darragh MacAuley have been very big players for Dublin this year, Jack McCaffrey and Paul Mannion too.
"Colm Cooper’s move out to centre-forward has worked pretty well for Kerry, he can express himself a little more out there and he is a class player. Marc O Se has been another super performer for them.”
The 2011 final, which Dublin won with a late Stephen Cluxton free, was a classic so will this game be as open?
“I think both teams will stick to their plan and play attacking football,” says Murphy. “They won’t neglect their defensive duties because both have very assertive defences.
“Both will be looking to get the ball into their attacks as quickly as possible and hope to do a bit of damage that way. It should be a very open game and a bit of a classic.”
Paths to the semi-finals
Dublin 1-22 Westmeath 0-9
Dublin 4-16 Kildare 1-9
Dublin 2-15 Meath 0-14
Dublin 1-16 Cork 0-14
Average For: 2-18; Average Against: 0-13
Kerry 2-19 Tipperary 0-8
Kerry 4-21 Waterford 1-4
Kerry 1-16 Cork 0-17
Kerry 0-15 Cavan 0-9
Average For: 2-17; Average Against: 0-11
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