Cavan, with Dara McVeety back in the side, will be looking for a good run in these qualifiers. Provided, they knuckle down, they should prevail here with a bit to spare. Cavan v Down, Brewster Park, 5pmEven though Down fail to fire against Donegal, they still racked up 16 points. Compared to last year, amonn Burns side have dipped somewhat.
Laois are looking for a first win over Dublin since 2003, yes 15 years ago ! In fact that was the last time they won the Leinster football title as well with Mick ODwyer in charge. Dublin have went on to beat Laois on 7 occasions since then so they certainly have the upper hand coming into this game again.Dublin have won the last four Leinster finals by an average of just over 13 points, beating Kildare by nine last year, Westmeath by 15 in 2016 and by 13 in 2015 and Meath by 16 in 2014.
Kerry V Westmeath (Joe McDonagh Cup) Match Report
Jim Gavin will undoubtedly be feeling the heat even more this evening, but the way he has managed his side outside the field has to be admired. Unlike Dublin managers of the past, he keeps the media at arms length, and has a palatable calm nature while managing from the side line. However, managers have changed in both set ups since they both last met. This has been crucial in this years campaign, he is keeping his players settled and looking no further then tomorrows game.
I understand there is a vulnerability in their defence, as is the case with Kerry, As a result, I expect both teams will try and prevent the opposition from running at them from deep. Theyll well prepared for Sunday. The extra game against Mayo this year will leave them in great stead going into the final. They spent the winter mulling over that loss.
There are no two teams who are so far apart geographically but so close in terms of a rich rivalry. There is no doubt that this is still fresh in their minds as they depart for the capital. One could not but feel a little dis heartened by the lack of flair to last Sundays semi-final and no better way to counter it than with the meeting of urban v rural. This Sunday, the Munster Champions take on their Leinster counterparts in what could turn out to be the battle of the summer. Like snakes in the long grass, Eamonn Fitzmaurice has kept his team well below the radar, and if you are to believe the rumours, there are no Kerry flags to be seen. No hype, no expectation, no pressure should amount to perfect preparation. Dublin wont want a repeat spectacle. Kerry were home and dry and ended up losing the All-Ireland in the most cruellest of circumstances. There is something about Kerry v Dublin that excites every GAA enthusiast and what makes this game even more intriguing: Dublin wear the favourite tag, whether that will sit comfortably or not remains to be seen. For Kerry, losing the 2011 All-Ireland final will go down as one of the greatest regrets in Kerry GAA for years to come. That pain and hurt will be garnered and released come 3:30 tomorrow. Marc OS has cited that All-Ireland loss as one of his greatest regrets. Jim Gavins men on the other hand will be reminded of the hiding handed out by the Kerry men on their way to All-Ireland honours in 2009. If the 2nd football semi-final lives up its traditional rivalry, it has the potential to transform an average 2013 football championship into a great one, setting us up for an intriguing conclusion to this years football championship. There have been many references made during the week to the great enmity that precedes this contest in Croke Park tomorrow. What is it about Kerry v Dublin?
Credit Union County Football League
The final word will have to go to the best player on the pitch, and that is Colm Cooper. The revolving argument as to whether you keep a supreme talent close to goal, or let him roam around the 40 could be answered tomorrow. Dublins half back line this Summer like that of Mayo has been the springboard for many of their scores and if a score has to sum up their Summer, then surely Jack McCafferys goal against Cork in the quarter final is a text book example of their style of play. However, Dublin are carrying the ball into the forward line more than ever this year. Dublin have looked comfortable all summer and Jim Gavin has installed a fresh hunger in their play. If Kerry are to prevail, he will have to pay the role of puppet master, he sees things before they happen, and in the centre half forward position, he can pull the strings. The Dublin full back line will be tested tomorrow and about time too. Ciarn Sheehan for Cork was a thorn in their defence last time out. It would be a blunder by Fitzmaurice if OCarroll was not put under pressure in the air once again. Like King Puck, it is yet to be seen whether his entrance will match his exit. The Dubs have yet to reach full tilt and a big performance will be expected, and most likely delivered. He was off pace in the Cavan game and his marker picked up the man of the match. However, that game was over at half time, Donaghy was getting his first start of the championship, and unlike Tyrone in last weeks game, Kerry have a substitute bench that are not there to make up the numbers. Thy Kingdom will come but it will take more than a Hail Mary to see them through on this one. If Kerry pushes up on their kick out and Fitzmaurice directs some special attention towards McCaffery and McCarthy, Dublin might have to change their tactics slightly and we could see a big performance from Brogan. This is why Dublin are favourites, they are able to adapt to circumstance. Beware although, if we see him behind his own midfield, it is an indication that Kerry are in trouble.VerdictIt would be the safer option to go with the favourites, but also the correct one! Kieran Donaghy has not been named to start tomorrows game, but like King puck at Killorglin puck fair, he will be paraded before a Kerry crowd at some point. Much has been made regarding the form of Bernard Brogan. Its a combination of pace and support that has seen Dublin progress to tomorrows semi-final. Its also this combination that has made this team an even better force then in 2011.
With Ryan Burns, Conor Grimes and William Woods leading the charge I think Louth will have too much for a Leitrim side, where if rumours are to be believed, six players have left the squad. Leitrim v Louth, Pairc Sean MacDiarmada, 7pmLouth's win over London will have given them a serious boost after a sustained period where morale was low.
But balancing both squads, I think the Dubs' superior ability to run at Kerry could possibly tip the balance in their favour.As a unit, I would have more confidence in them to get critical scores at critical times. "Having said that, no team brings out a better game from Kerry than Dublin does.
Kerry vs Dublin NFL, Round 5
In defence Colm Begley, Stephen Attride and Mark Timmons. Laois come into the game on the back of three wins beating Wexford in the first round followed by Westmeath in the quarter final and Carlow then in the semi-final. They were made sweat in two games against Wexford and Carlow, Carlows downfall on the day was failing to score a goal. John Sugrue, the Laois boss, can call on several good players most notably Donal Kingston, Paul Kingston and Ross Munnelly in attack, while John OLoughlin is an exceptional talent in midfield.
They are more direct in their play. Kerry pushed up on the Clare kickouts the last day, so expect White to go long again. In goal, Mark White has been a good addition and more often than not goes long. If you're looking at Cork and asking what's different from last year, well new coach Ronan McCathy has instilled a togetherness and a harder edge. Munster SFC finalCork v Kerry, Pirc U Chaoimh, 7pmThere's a lot of interest in this game.
I feel that Tyrone, even though they weren't impressive against Meath, will have too much quality up front. Carlow v Tyrone, Netwatch Cullen Park, 5pmThis is a clash that is going to be so defensive on both sides.