RTE Sport have taken the views from former players and pundits for their All Ireland Championship tips
Anyone can call themselves an expert these days. And there’s probably a huge amount of experts that love nothing better than to predict the future. Particularly when it come to the big subjects. Case in point? The 2019 All Ireland Senior Football Championship.
Dublin, as we know, are on the cusp of some big record breaking history making months ahead. This current batch of players under the watchful eye of Jim Gavin could become the greatest Gaelic Football Team of all time should they run the gauntlet once again and capture a fifth consecutive Senior Football Championship.
After a rocky league campaign, where the Dubs relinquished their crown, many have aired concern. But was it a master stroke? Are we to believe that this Dublin team, that have had this amount of success since the turn of the decade, could possibly come to a full stop? Well, because we can’t predict the future, the simple answer is no one knows.
So, what better way to put a shape on the debate, than to throw out a set of six questions to some accepting recipients, put them together, throw them at the wall and see what sticks?
Well RTE Sport have done just that, And with the help of some former players and a Sunday Game legend we can see if there’s a trend.
Former Mayo All Star Alan Dillon, Donegal All Ireland winner Martin McHugh, 18 time All Ireland Champion Rena Buckley, former Sunday Game presenter Michael Lyster, four time Kerry All Ireland winner Colm Cooper and 2011 Dublin All Ireland winner Barry Cahill have all been asked the same six topics. And they are…
2019 All Ireland Winner
If Mayo’s Alan Dillon hadn’t chosen his own County, I’d have honestly called for a stewards enquiry, but he did and why wouldn’t he? For this pole Alan was the only exception as the other five steered in the direction of the reigning champions making history.
Michael Lyster phrased his answer as “it’s Dublin’s to lose – if you look about, can you see anyone to stop them?” Colm Cooper would love to see someone come out of the chasing pack, but can’t see it happening this year. Barry Cahill believes that while Dublin have moved back toward the pack and the pack has moved forward, they’re still three or four points better than the rest of the contenders.
The obvious choices you would expect, Dublin, Mayo, Kerry, Galway and Tyrone were touted by all six. As were Donegal. Five went for Monaghan and Meath to be there after the Provincial Competitions and Qualifiers. Rena Buckley listed Kildare as her last choice but did say that Meath or Cavan could be in with a shout too. Michael Lyster chose Cork, but added if they make it, it would be a big surprise for a lot of people.
Player Of The Year
Based on league form, you’d imagine, Alan Dillon and Barry Cahill have gone for Dublin’s Paul Mannion. Martin McHugh has chosen Dean Rock, stating he’s the most underrated footballer in the current Dublin panel. Rena Buckley believes Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea is arguably the footballer of the year so far. The betting man he is, Michael Lyster sees good each way odds on Rory O’Carroll now that he’s back in the Dublin panel. And Colm Cooper has given Ciaran Kilkenny the nod for his choice.
Young Player Of The Year
Two Kerry names, as expected, have our pole participants given David Clifford the nod with four, while Sean O’Shea is chosen by two. Martin McHugh also gave an honorable mention to Tyrone’s Darragh Canavan, if he get’s game time. Rena and Barry mentioned Clifford but steered back toward the young O’Shea.
Surprises and Talking Points
Absolutely no surprise most used the Provincial Championships as their main talking point for various reason. But how do you fix the problem? As it’s Kieran McGeeney’s last year with Armagh, Alan Dillon believes they’ll throw off the shackles and go for broke. Both Colm Cooper and Rena Buckley have touted Donegal as the surprise package, provided they get on Paddy McBrearty back fit. And Barry Cahill thinks Meath will make the Leinster Final and the Super 8’s after many year missing from the All Ireland knockouts.