Diarmuid Connolly Will Be All-Ireland Final Replay Hero

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Looking back on the final, Dublin looked comfortable and in their groove before Jonny Cooper was sent off.

Lessons Learned.
Kerry then came into the match well, especially 10-15 minutes into the second half. At one point it really looked like they were going to get over the line but unfortunately for Gaelic Football they didn’t.

Dublin showed tremendous character to play with fourteen men and dragged themselves back into the game. At one point it looked like it was going against them and they were taking uncharacteristic shots.

It’s all about who learned the most over the past few weeks.

Drive For Five.
I’ve said before that this year has been a hugely important year for Dublin in that the players want to achieve five-in-a-row but after this year a lot of their main players are on the wrong side of thirty. They’ll not be as strong over the next couple of years.

One of the big things to note is that the players had to use up a lot of energy with fourteen men to stay in the game. This meant that they couldn’t come with that late charge that they usually present against teams.

It was probably Jim Gavin’s worst performance on the line in his Dublin tenure.

I’d be surprised if he doesn’t start Diarmuid Connolly in the replay and bring in Bernard Brogan and Eoghan O’Gara back into the mix.

The most surprising thing was that Jim Gavin didn’t use his bench the way that he used it before. They had a lot of good forwards on the bench that they didn’t make good use of in the last 10-15 minutes which is something that you usually would see in a tight game.

Prediction.
Looking ahead to the replay, I stick with what I said the last time. If Dublin keep fifteen men on the field, they will learn much more than Kerry.

Kerry played to their full potential the last day. They have a lot of young players that have come in from the minor squad and they are only going to get better as the years go on but I do think it’ll be a step too far to try and beat Dublin on Saturday.

It will be tight up until the 55th minute. Dublin are more used to these All-Ireland Finals and are more experienced. A lot of the players have also played in All-Ireland Final replays before too which is a huge advantage.

The extra few weeks will have done Diarmuid Connolly the world of good especially after coming into the panel late

…and I think on the day there may be a change and he might start.

Eoin Murchan is another player who can come in and do a man-marking job on Killian Spillane if he starts or 21-year old Sean O’Shea who had a fantastic game for his first All-Ireland Final. He is Kerry’s danger man. He brings players like David Clifford and Tommy Walsh into play and is great on free kicks.

Kerry people will be calling on Killian Spillane and Tommy Walsh to start but I feel they have to keep them in reserve because coming into the last 15-20 minutes, you have to look to your bench and see who is going to make an impact.

We already know that Tommy Walsh makes a big difference coming on from the bench, changing the whole dynamic of their forward line.

Kerry definitely have plenty of options but I think it’s playing into Dublin’s hands with the Diarmuid Connolly factor and he could be the hero come Saturday.

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