We preview Dublin v Kerry which should be an epic encounter, throw in Sunday, 3.30pm, Croke Park, Referee David Gough (Meath)
The meeting of old rivals Dublin and Kerry was one the semi-finals that everyone predicted when the draws were made way back in October 2015. The teams will meet for the 5th time since 2007 in the All-Ireland SFC. The most recent championship game between the sides was in the 2015 All Ireland Final when Dublin won 0-12 to 0-09 in a dour affair at Croke Park.
Both teams are coming into the game with some excellent form. Dublin made light work of opposition in the Leinster Championship, while the same can be said for Kerry to be fair. However, Dublin’s path to the All-Ireland semi-final has been more difficult than the Kingdom’s. Dublin played Donegal in the quarter final game with Donegal putting it up to them for large parts before Dublin pulled away in the final 10 minutes. Kerry on the other hand had an easier quarter final game against Clare as the came out on top by 12 points. Going by the quality of opposition Dublin had a tough battle against Donegal and this would surely stand to them on Sunday. Although, Kerry had a much easier task, they still had to do a job and win the game.
Kerry will come in as underdogs and there is nothing much better a Kerry fan or Eamonn Fitzmaurice will want. All the pressure is on Dublin one would say coming into it, but to fair to the Dubs they handle this pressure without minimum fuss. The games in 2015 and 2013 Dublin were the far better side and repeat performances from them games will them over the line for a place in the final against Mayo who defeated Tipperary last weekend.
Dublin have quality players in the forwards, Ciaran Kilkenny is outstanding and is surely in line for Footballer of the Year. Paul Flynn hasn’t been playing up to his usual standards but he still is one of the best wing forwards in the game and can deliver on the big occasion. Diarmuid Connolly is a superb player, although sometimes he can come into question about his discipline. In defence, Jonny Cooper has been playing well at full back, while Cian O’Sullivan and Philly McMahon are also playing well. Kerry have also some gifted players throughout the field. James O’Donoghue is superb in attack and I fully expect him to be starting on Sunday, he can cause a lot of trouble for the Dublin defence. Colm Cooper has recovered from injury and he may also feature for Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s side. In defence Killian Young and Mark Griffin have been outstanding so far, while Brian O Beaglaoich has been playing well at wing back.
So in terms of picking a winner, it is hard to see beyond Dublin, but if anyone can beat them it will be Kerry. Eamonn Fitzmaurice will have them rearing to go I am sure of that. However, Dublin know what it takes to win big games now and I feel they will win by 1-3 points.
The team, captained by Killian Young is as follows:
1. Brian Kelly Killarney Legion
2. Shane Enright Tarbert
3. Mark Griffin St Michaels/Foilmore
4. Killian Young (C) Renard
5. Brian Ó Beaglaoich An Ghaeltacht
6. Peter Crowley Laune Rangers
7. Tadhg Morley Templenoe
8. Kieran Donaghy Austin Stacks
9. David Moran Kerins O’Rahillys
10. Paul Murphy Rathmore
11. Colm Cooper Dr Crokes
12. Donnchadh Walsh Cromane
13. Stephen O’Brien Kenmare
14. Paul Geaney Dingle
15. James O’Donoghue Killarney Legion
16. Brendan Kealy Kilcummin
17. Darran O’Sullivan Glenbeigh-Glencar
18. Bryan Sheehan St Marys
19. Barry John Keane Kerins O’Rahillys
20. Marc Ó Sé An Ghaeltacht
21. Jonathan Lyne Killarney Legion
22. Fionn Fitzgerald Dr Crokes
23. Anthony Maher Duagh
24. Aidan O’Mahony Rathmore
25. Michael Geaney Dingle
26. Johnny Buckley Dr Crokes