GAA Football

How will the All-Ireland SFC final be won? The players have their say...

Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan tips Dublin to win on Sunday Picture Seamus Loughran.
Andy Watters

Kevin McGuckin (Derry)

MAYO'S turnaround after their near exit to Derry in the Qualifiers has been great to watch.

They have improved game after game and provided us with some serious entertainment on their rollercoaster season. But I just can't see past the Dubs on Sunday.

They just have too much all over the pitch - every player can play, is fast and mobile and seems to know what he is about.

I loved the way they played against Tyrone - they opened up the pitch, they were patient and then, when the chance arose, they were ruthless. Mayo will show great spirit but think the Dubs will hold on to Sam for another year. Hopefully we get a classic.

Verdict: Dublin

Chris Kerr (Antrim)

IT would be great to see Mayo win. They have been knocking on the door now for years and their Championship run this year has been class. The Dubs are dominant because they have a group of players who are extremely talented - they have so much pace and power and the ruthless streak is what sets them apart.

Playing at least four forwards is key putting them on the back foot for Mayo. Andy Moran and Cillian O’Connor can cause damage against anyone but I just can't see Dublin losing. Hoping for Mayo but think the Dubs by three.

Verdict: Dublin

Seanie Johnston (Cavan)

MAYO are battle-hardened, they have huge athleticism and are probably the only team that can stay with Dublin in that regard. If fate or deserving an All-Ireland plays a part they will win but in reality Dublin are better than them and that's why I feel they will win again.

Dublin just have power pace and a huge skill set and that's what sets them apart - their bench can play a crucial role and if things are tight that's what may get them over the line.

Verdict: Dublin

Mark Poland (Down)

MAYO need to start fast and make the Dubs chase them, instead of the other way about.

They'll also need to score at least two goals to win.

All easier said than done but the pain of previous finals should drive them on. Their usual suspects Lee Keegan, Colm Boyle, Aidan O’Shea, Cillian O’Connor and Andy Moran all need big performances.

Dublin’s strength-in-depth is frightening. They can replace like with like and it won't have any impact on their team. They're just so composed and ruthless in everything they do and I feel they'll complete a three in-a-row.

Verdict: Dublin

Conleith Gilligan (Derry)

I HOPE Mayo win and if they are to do that they need to push up on Cluxton’s kick-outs and deny Dublin possession as much as possible.

Andy Moran and Cillian O’Connor will live off scraps and Cillian needs to have a massive game on his frees as Mayo will need them. Dublin have scoring threats from all areas so it's really hard to see where they will be vulnerable so Mayo need to win primary possession.

I feel Dublin will win the game with their usual swagger with too many options up front for Mayo to contend with.

Verdict: Dublin

Ciaran McKeever (Armagh)

MAYO have a massive opportunity here. Pound-for-pound they’re possibly the only team to take Dublin head-on and they'll keep Dublin honest all over the pitch.

Look back on recent meetings and Mayo possibly have been the better team. Dublin will be wary of this going into Sunday and, along with going for three in-a-row this adds more pressure onto them

The resources the Dubs have mean they can tap into all everything and anything to give them the edge on everyone else but I think this game can be won on the sideline.

Dublin are very good at emptying their bench with 20-25 minutes to go and putting teams to the sword, but I feel that if Mayo have prepared for this, and counteract it, they could get across the line .

A lot of the key players could face off in head-to-heads and whoever comes out on top will have a big say on who wins the All-Ireland.

Verdict: Mayo

Paul Finlay (Monaghan)

I EXPECT the game to be won and lost in the middle third. If Mayo can get the upper hand in this area they have really strong runners who can hurt Dublin.

This will force Jack McCaffrey etc to spend more time defending than constantly going forward. Aidan O’Shea has shown enough form to suggest there is another really big game in him, if Mayo can get the right ball into him in the full-forward line he can cause havoc in the Dublin defence. Mayo must try something different and pushing Aidan close to goals on occasions could reap rich rewards.

Mayo are peaking at just the right time and I’m thinking there may be one bad day at the office for this Dublin machine.

Verdict: Mayo

Kieran Hughes (Monaghan)

I WOULD never say any team is unbeatable but Mayo will have their work cut out to end the famine.

It's been a joy to watch them this summer - so many times they looked dead and buried but they have fantastic resilience within the squad.

The thing that stood out for me as to why Dublin is so dominant was their forward tackling. It didn't matter if it was their man or not, they were hunting the opposition half-backs and midfielders down looking for turnovers. For a team going for three in-a-row their hunger is exceptional.

I'm looking forward to a tight contest and while my heart says Mayo, my head says Dublin.

Verdict: Dublin

Niall Morgan (Tyrone)

MAYO will certainly have learned a lot from previous finals and also from playing Dublin on many occasions. Then again, we could have said the same last year!

With Dublin so potent in attack you have to wonder if Mayo can match their accuracy.

Mayo have a big question in where they deploy Aidan O'Shea as he certainly won't be full-back but will he go to midfield, half-forward or full-forward? I think how he plays will have a big bearing on the outcome and should Diarmuid Connolly start for the Dubs I think he will be their key man.

I'm going with a very tight game but a goal from the Dubs in the middle of the second half to put them too far ahead to be caught.

Verdict: Dublin

Killian Clarke (Cavan)

MAYO will be chomping at the bit because they have nothing to lose as everyone is writing them off. That's a great position to be in.

Aidan O'Shea will have a huge bearing on the game. I don't think there's too many of the Dublin lads that will stick with his physicality on his day. Ultimately, if Mayo can disrupt the exciting football Dublin play then it should be an interesting contest.

I'll go against the grain - Mayo by one.

Verdict: Mayo

Overall result of player poll: Dublin 7 Mayo 3

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