Sunday’s meeting with Kerry in Croke Park marks an historic 50th Senior All-Ireland final
Dublin manager Mick Bohan has kept faith with the same starting 15 which began against Cork last time out for Sundays historic 50th Senior All-Ireland final against Kerry.
Sunday’s game will be the second meeting between the teams in this year’s championship, the two sides met in Parnell Park in the opening group game of the All Ireland series.
The team from the kingdom prevailed that day by 2-08 to 1-09 in a bruising encounter which seen Dublin down by seven points early in the second half.
But Dublin rallied with five points on the bounce to come roaring back into the game, Dublin though we’re left to rue Carla Rowe’s saved penalty attempt and a couple of uncharacteristic wayward point attempts in the second half.
Despite the loss Dublin’s young team garnered a lot of confidence from the game and their performance levels have been in an upward curve since registering big scoring wins over Cavan, Donegal in the quarter final and Cork in the semi final.
Kerry seen off holders Meath in the quarter finals and Mayo in the semi’s to reach the final for the second year in a row. Kerry have scored 7-53 in the All Ireland series an average of about 2-13 per game and have conceded 4-35 an average of about 1-09 per game.
Dublin have scored 11-55 during their All Ireland series campaign and average of about 3-14 per game and conceded 3-35 an average of about 1-08 per game.
One area Dublin may hold an advantage over Kerry is in defence, taking into account the provincial and all Ireland series Dublin have conceded just three goals in their seven games while Kerry have conceded twelve goals in their eight games, Kerry had one provincial game more than the Dubs.
There are also two major personnel changes since the sides last met, Jennifer Dunne missed the group game in Parnell Park against Kerry due to injury but has been a major driving force from midfield since she returned to the team.
And Kerry suffered a big blow the week leading into their semi final against Mayo with the loss of captain Siofra O’Shea to a serious knee injury. With fine margins normally the deciding factor in the outcome of finals the loss of O’Shea could prove pivotal.
For Dublin they will need to hit the ground running on Sunday, Kerry throughout the season have stuck to a game plan of fast starts to build up a sizeable lead by half-time and then drop deep in the second half and play on the counter. Dublin can’t afford to be chasing the game in the second half on the wide open expanses of Croke Park they will need to be either in front at the break or at least within a point or two of Kerry heading into the second half.
Leading into the men’s final all the talk was about Kerry’s David Clifford and the talk leading into the women’s senior All-Ireland final has seen the focus on another Kerry forward, Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh.
Ní Mhuircheartaigh is Kerry’s go to forward and a fine footballer, who given time and space on the ball, can do serious damage on the scoreboard and Dublin will have to come up with a plan to curb her influence on the game.
But the Dubs will have to be careful not to get too fixated on Ní Mhuircheartaigh as Kerry have a number of other players like Danielle O’Leary, Hannah O’Donoghue, Niamh Carmody and Niamh Ní Chonchuir who are all very capable score getters.
Although it will be the same for Kerry at the other end, they will have their hands full with the likes of Carla Rowe, Hannah Tyrrell, Kate Sullivan, Jennifer Dunne, Jodi Egan, Orlagh Nolan and Caoimhe O’Connor who can all shoot the lights out on any given day.
So which team will prevail in Sundays Senior All-Ireland final? it a difficult one to call, but given Dublin’s performances against Donegal and Cork and the form of Jennifer Dunne and loss of Kerry captain Siofra O’Shea, Dublin will sneak this one by a couple of points at the finish.
Tickets remain on sale for Sundays big showdown with the Kingdom from usual GAA ticket outlets and from Ticketmaster.
Overseas fans can watch the game live on TG4: https://www.tg4.ie/en/player/watch-live/
Dublin: 1. Abby Sheils (Lucan Sarsfields), 2. Niamh Crowley (Fingallians), 3. Leah Caffrey (Na Fianna), 4. Aoife Kane (Kilmacud Crokes), 5. Lauren Magee (Kilmacud Crokes), 6. Martha Byrne (Cuala), 7. Niamh Donlon (St Oliver Plunketts Eoghan Ruadh), 8. Jennifer Dunne (Cuala), 9. Eilish O’Dowd (Na Fianna), 10. Caoimhe O’Connor (Clontarf), 11. Orlagh Nolan (Ballinteer St Johns), 12. Kate Sullivan (St Sylvesters), 13. Hannah Tyrrell (Na Fianna), 14. Carla Rowe (C) (Clann Mhuire), 15. Jodi Egan (Foxrock Cabinteely).
Dublin Substitutes: 16. Emer Ní Eafa (Fingallians ), 17. Rachel Brennan (St Peregrines), 18. Gráinne Fitzsimons (Cuala), 19. Emma Deeley (Na Fianna), 20. Ellen Gribben (St Brigids), 21. Chloe Darby (Parnells), 22. Orla Martin (Na Fianna), 23. Niamh Hetherton (Clontarf), 24. Sinéad Aherne (St Sylvesters), 25. Sinéad Wylde (Cuala), 26. Annabelle Timothy (St Finians Swords), 27. Emma Strappe (Castleknock), 28. Julie Vaughan (Ballyboden St Endas), 29. Faye O’Connell Bell (Foxrock Cabinteely), 30. Dannielle Lawless (St Sylvesters).