It’s never a good thing to jump the gun, or make stupidly ludicrous assumptions. But after the weekend’s football, the picture is starting to sharpen and come into focus on how things may pan out in this year All Ireland Championship.
Both Dublin and Tyrone showed their class in their respective provincial finals yesterday and have laid the marker for others in contention.
Dublin will have their quarter final opposition provided by Armagh, Monaghan or Down, so there’s the strong likelihood that the Dubs will advance to a Semi Final spot.
Tyrone will be looking at Armagh, Monaghan or Kildare, and based on their recent performances you’d have to fancy the red hand to advance.
And with the draw the way it is, it’s looking very like the Ulster and Leinster Champions will square off in Croke Park around August 27th.
After the last two performances by Dublin, against both Westmeath and Kildare, suspended Diarmuid Connolly may well be worried about reclaiming a starting position after his 12-week ban ends, on that very weekend.
The newly restored Leinster Champions have trotted along nicely in the St. Vincent’s mans absence, and it may in some part have paved a way for the inevitable emergence of Cuala’s Con O’Callaghan, who was the deserving recipient of yesterday’s Player Of The Match, scoring 0-12 of Dublin’s haul.
It also must be quite a worrying thought for an opposition when Dublin are comfortable with players like Bernard Brogan and Kevin McManamon content with a role coming off the bench.
Brogan yesterday proved there’s still life in the old dog, shooting 0-05 exquisitely from play, surely making Jim Gavin’s selection process a little less easy.
The Ulster Champions will want to cull the memory of last year’s All Ireland Quarter Final defeat to Mayo. They certainly won’t want to make the same mistakes at GAA HQ.
They’re primed and well ahead of their potential Quarter Final opponents, and with a full game on the Croke Park surface hopefully under their belts, they’ll be more that up for the challenge of killing Dublin’s attacking style.
There’s also a more focused attack feel to this Tyrone side, which has been evident in the scores against Derry (0-22), and Donegal (1-21). Adding 2-17 against Down yesterday puts their average over the three games to 23 points.
Dublin’s score average is around the 30 point mark over three games in Leinster, clearly weighted by the massive 4-29 scored against Westmeath. They only conceded 0-17 over the Quarter and Semi Final, but 1-17 conceded yesterday would give Tyrone some thing positive to think about.
All that being said, it’s still up to both sides to win their respective Quarter Final and not get ahead of themselves. But as it stands it’s hard to look past Dublin, Tyrone, or Kerry to contend for Sam Maguire.
So for any football fan out there, that’s not too bad, right?