The GAA football Championship has been full of twists and turns (and the occasional push) this season. And one seemingly unstoppable blue juggernaut. In the year that Sky Sports launched live GAA coverage, teams in both codes have delivered some sensational football and hurling. In particular, the ever smug Dubs. The reigning All-Ireland football champions have been one of the most consistent teams since 2010. They have won two titles in that time and at 3/10 are odds on to make it three out of four. We’re staring down the barrel of more domination from the Jackeens Dublin the team to beat: There is a simple reason as to why Dublin are such overwhelming favourities. They create so many chances and rack up ridiculous scores.
- So far in this year’s Championship they have racked up an unbelievable 9-88 in four games. That’s more than three of the previous winners in the last 10 years.
- They have had an average win margin of 15 points in four games. The average over the last ten years is eight points. And they are so good that their second top scorer, Cormac Costello doesn’t even start.
- Against Monaghan in the quarter final they had 10 different scorers including their keeper. Even though the sport is amateur the Dublin team are at a professional level of fitness. They can simply run teams into the ground. It’s like watching 15 supercharged panthers chasing a ball around a field. Smug panthers.
Since 2011 the only teams to have gotten close to beating Dublin have been the three teams that are left in the Championship with them. Donegal lost by two points in the 2011, but never looked like beating them, Kerry got to within a point in the final, but have gone backwards since and are missing the best player of the last decade, Colm Cooper and Mayo got to within a point in last season’s final, but while they have stayed at the same level Dublin have upped it to a totally new level this season. Dublin are the best team since the Kerry team of the 1980’s and the way their underage teams are going could well be the best ever. Sorry Kerry teams of the 70s and 80s with your great football and magnificent hair. What to expect in the semi finals: Dublin meet Donegal in the semi final on the 23rd of August in a repeat of possibly the most depressing game of football ever, the 2011 semi final. On that occasion Donegal adopted the Jose Mourinho tactic of parking the bus. Watching a team put 15 men behind the ball is about as fun as jabbing a red hot poker through your eyes. Dublin are far and away the best team at the moment and should dispatch an aging Donegal easily. The odds of 1/10 tell you everything you need to know. Dublin have possibly the best squad of players to ever collectively play the game. There’s easy money to be made during the conclusion of this years Championship.
The other semi final hasn’t gone away with Mayo and Kerry giving us a sequel to the thriller at Croker last Sunday. The question is ‘did the Kingdom miss their chance to dump out Mayo and spare them another All-Ireland Final defeat last weekend with Lee Keegan given his marching orders for the most innocuous of ineffective kicks?’ Mayo somehow managed to be poor, brilliant, dogged and chokers in the course of those 70 minutes and the replay hinges on which of characteristics they show most of this time around. Kerry will just be Kerry – hanging in there, always nagging at you, playing a good standard of football. The Heather County (that’s Mayo if you don’t know your mental county nicknames) should shade this at the second and set up a meeting with Dublin, which Dublin will win thanks to Mayo’s 63 year curse that they won’t win an All Ireland.
Of course, if Jim McGuinness strangles the life out of Dublin – and that’s not entirely out of the question – the landscape changes entirely. For once, the season may not end with Mayo fans sobbing into their TK Red Lemonade.