Posted by Shane Stapleton

It’s the business end of the season and we’ve put each of our ambassadors’ necks on the block ahead of the Sam Maguire clash

02 2013 Ambassador Predictions week 15 8

It’s the business end of the season and we’ve put each of our ambassadors’ necks on the block.

Having met nine times in the championship, Dublin are ahead 5-2 while the remaining two were draws. However, the Dubs have not beaten the Connacht champions since 1985.

“I’m going to go with Dublin, marginally,” says our eircom ambassador Ciaran Whelan. “I think it’s going to be a titanic battle. Mayo probably will get the better start and might even lead at half-time. But if Dublin are close in the second half, they could kick on with 20 minutes to go.”

Tyrone boss Mickey Harte saw his side race into an early lead against Mayo so he knows precisely what Jim Gavin’s side are up against on Sunday. He also agrees with Whelan that this game could be won down the stretch.

“I just think that Dublin will win,” Harte says. “I think the rest of the country would like Mayo to win but Dublin, with the home crowd, the fact they’re Division 1 league champions, the fact they’re playing with serious confidence, the fact that they can get loads of scores will win out.

“Mayo will give a really good account of themselves but I think Dublin are too difficult a team for them to make the breakthrough. There are many other teams in many other years they could have met and you’d say Mayo have what it takes to win this All-Ireland but I think they have a little bit to do to get there against Dublin.

“As we’ve seen all through the year, Dublin can call on great resources from the bench that makes a difference. You can call on players during a game and one or two can make a difference. Nearly every player they bring in makes a difference.

Mayo wouldn’t have the capacity to make as many introductions that will make such a significant difference. So possibly this game will be won from the bench again like a lot of Dublin’s important games have been.”

Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper played against Gavin’s men in the other semi-final and he is backing Kerry’s victors to go one step further.

“I think Dublin might just shade it,” Cooper says. “While Mayo’s half-back line is very strong, so is Dublin’s half-forward line and they might just get on top there, particularly with the men they can bring in from the bench in the second half, lads like Dean Rock and Kevin McManamon.

“You wouldn’t imagine there will be a whole lot in it but Dublin just might have the greater strength in depth at the end.”

Johnny Doyle continues the theme: “I think it could be close enough. You look at the quarter-final and the performance against Donegal and you’d say if they can reach that again there’s no team will come near Mayo.

“After looking at the semi-final, you’d say there was a bit of nervousness early on and Dublin might exploit that. I just think Dublin have the strength on the bench might see them over the line.

What part Cillian O’Connor can play will have a big bearing on it too. I think he’s a massive player for Mayo for one that’s so young. He’s really mature, a very good place-kicker and is vital to them.”

The sole dissenting voice comes from the Donie Shine, who was part of the Roscommon side that was the most recent holders of the Nestor Cup outside of Mayo.

“James Horan is very clever on the line,” says our eircom ambassador Shine. “I think he’ll win the tactical battle and Mayo will win the game. He’s been there for three years and they’ve learnt a lot in that time.

“They were unlucky last year in the sense that a 10-minute spell caught them out against Donegal. They were probably a little naive putting Kevin Keane on Michael Murphy but I think they will get their match-ups right this year.

“I just think Mayo will perform. They played really well for the most part last year but were just caught on the hop.”

Championship Scoring
Average For: 3-16; Average Against: 0-12
Average For: 2-18; Average Against: 1-11

Previous Championship Clashes
2012: Mayo 0-19 Dublin 0-16 (All-Ireland semi-final)
2006: Mayo 1-16 Dublin 2-12 (All-Ireland semi-final)
1985: Dublin 2-12 Mayo 1-7 (All-Ireland semi-final) Replay
1985: Dublin 1-13 Mayo 1-13 (All-Ireland semi-final) Draw
1955: Dublin 1-8 Mayo 1-7 (All-Ireland semi-final) Replay
1955: Dublin 0-7 Mayo 1-4 (All-Ireland semi-final) Draw
1923: Dublin 1-6 Mayo 1-2 (All-Ireland semi-final)
1921: Dublin 1-9 Mayo 0-2 (All-Ireland final)
1904: Dublin 0-8 Mayo 1-4 (All-Ireland semi-final)
Dublin 5; Mayo 2; Draws 2. 

2013 Top Championship Scorers
Martin Dunne (Cavan)...................1-33 (36pts)
Cillian O’Connor (Mayo).............6-14 (32pts)
Mickey Newman (Meath)............1-27 (30pts)
Daniel Goulding (Cork).............1-27 (30pts)
Sean Cavanagh (Tyrone)............0-29 (29 pts)
Darren McCurry (Tyrone).........0-28 (28 pts)
Michael Meehan (Galway).......2-22 (28pts)
Colm Cooper (Kerry)...............1-23 (26pts)
Sean McCormack (Longford)..0-24 (24pts)
Lorcan Mulvey (London)........2-18 (24pts)
Colm McFadden (Donegal).....2-18 (24pts)

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