All Ireland Football Final Preview & Betting OptionsThings are really gearing up now as we head into the wekeend and we're looking towards the climax of the inter-county senior football campaign as Dublin & Mayo will once again battle it out to the become the All Ireland champions.
Last year two intense battles were needed to separate the two and in the end Dublin won the by a single score in the replay at Croke Park. Dublin have seemingly cruised through to the final this year, winning the Leinster title and brushing aside Monaghan and Tyrone.
In the semi-final, Dublin displayed incredible patience and effectively destroyed Tyrone's defensive tactics. Con O'Callaghan bagged a goal after just 5 minutes that day and set the tone for the afternoon. A theme throughout the campaign has been the incredible strength of the Dublin bench. Players like Bernard Brogan, Paul Flynn & Kevin McManamon have had to be content with cameo roles while the return of Diarmuid Connolly is another massive addition to a lethal list of forward options.
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Mayo's path to the final has been somewhat arduous but many feel it may stand to them by giving them added belief and game sharpness. Galway disposed of them in the Connacht championship in a toothless display and it was to the qualifiers Mayo went. They were drawn against Derry in the first round and many expected them to win easily but they were taken to extra-time where they eventually overcame that scare and went through to the next round.
The following week they faced a plucky Clare side who had much the better of the first-half as Mayo once again were unconvincing and were showing signs of having the jitters. A big half-time talk was obviously needed and duly delivered as it was Mayo who came out of the traps early and went on to dominate the game. Cillian O'Connor caused panic in the Clare defence with direct runs as both he and his brother, Diarmuid, scored the goals to help them to victory. It was the first sign of life from Mayo in the campionship this year.
They were taken to extra-time again in their next qualifier against Cork as Cillian O'Connor scored 11 points including the winner which was a 45 in added time of the second-half in extra-time. They went on to face Connacht champions Roscommon in the All Ireland quarter-finals where once again the game ended in a draw and another replay was required. The two games were chalk and cheese as Mayo changed things and completely brushed aside Roscommon. And as we all know, in the semi-final, Mayo remarkably had to go through another replay if they were to reach the final as they drew with Kerry in the first game. A week later, they triumphed in a totally convincing display exposing Kerry's full-back line with Andy Moran banging in a second-half goal as well as Diarmuid O'Connor grabbing another championship goal.
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