Dublin needed those two proper tests against Mayo to reach Sunday’s All-Ireland final.
Without them they wouldn’t have had what I’d consider a proper game since last season’s semi-final defeat to Donegal.
Coasting through Leinster just doesn’t prepare you for the tougher tests at the business end of the Championship.
Jim Gavin’s side got great value from those games against Mayo – as did Kerry against Cork. Both are ready to go now.
Kerry and Dublin are by far the best two footballing sides in the Championship. It should be a great battle and both will be very defensive in nature – especially early on. It’ll be a tactical battle as much as anything else.
The big thing for Kerry is to stop Dublin getting goals. That’s a huge factor. Kerry will also need to deal with Stephen Cluxton’s kick-outs a lot better than other sides. The Kingdom’s midfield duo of Anthony Maher and David Moran are very strong fielders for them.
The Dubs are hardened coming into this and although Kerry haven’t played for a while I can’s see them suffering from it.
The Kingdom’s set-up have been at this long enough to know how to deal with it. They’ll be ready for this.
Kingdom to rule
Kerry’s record in All-Ireland finals is very strong – even though Dubs’ fans will point out that they beat them in a couple of Championship Classics in the 2011 final and the semi-final in 2013.
I don’t think this will be a Classic though and I’m backing Kerry to win the All-Ireland at . They look to have the stronger forward line and look to have the stronger bench.
They’ve also got real goal threats in Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper and James O’Donoghue to match the Dubs’ forward line. It’ll be interesting to see how the Dublin’s backs clamp down on them.
Going for goals
Dublin’s Bernard Brogan ( first goalscorer) or Kerry’s James O’Donoghue ( first goalscorer) are the big two goal-poachers who can strike early.
Brogan’s record in big games speaks for itself while O’Donoghue will always try to take his man on in front of goal.
Kevin McManamon has scored two big goals for the Dubs in the Championship. A punt on him scoring could be a value play – but you may have to wait for him to arrive off the bench – he’s to be last pointscorer.
Kerry are the form team in the Minor game and already gave Tipperary a hiding in the Munster final so Kerry on the handicap (-3) looks the bet to me in the minor final @