GAA Football

GAA stars give their opinion on the 2018 All-Ireland SFC final

Irish News Sports

We put the following questions to some inter-county players past and present on the All-Ireland SFC final

1) Who do you think will win?

2) Which players will have the greatest impact on the outcome?

3) Who will be top scorer?

4) What do Tyrone have to do to topple Dublin?

Conleith Gilligan (Derry)

On form I can only see Dublin winning due to their strength of squad and the fact they are more sure of their game plan especially on their home ground,

Tyrone are really improving especially offensively and have added McKernan, McGearys, etc who added real pace from the back.

The key to them winning is if they can break Dublin's monopoly in possession and disrupt their kickouts.

I feel Tyrone will be able to do this and they will make a real game of it as they always show well in Croke Park but Dublin's experience and depth will be enough to see them over the line.

Kevin O'Boyle (Antrim)

1. I expect a Dublin win but would love to see Tyrone win, they will need a huge performance to pull it off.

2. Dublin’s middle men Fenton, McCarthy and Kilkenny control so many games but I think it’s especially key to curb the influence of Ciaran Kilkenny, he dictates so much of their play and sets the tempo.

Tyrone need their transition men of Harte, Sludden and McCann to be on song.

Dublin will likely target these players.

3. Top scorer: Dean Rock. Deadly from placed ball and play, very intelligent player.

4. Tyrone need to be really clinical and get in front. No one has got in front of Dublin and took them out of their comfort zone of having to chase a game.

Tyrone also need to get through the third quarter unscathed.

This quarter Dublin really target especially with their impact subs.

Michael McCann (Antrim)

1) Dublin

2) Greatest impact on the outcome: Brian Fenton, Ciaran Kilkenny, Mattie Donnelly

3) Top scorer: Dean Rock

4) Press higher up the field and force Dublin in the back foot instead of inviting them on.

Conor Moynagh (Cavan)

1) It's hard to look past Dublin. Their bench is phenomenal.

The likes of Flynn, McManamon and Costello are worth 6/7 points between them every time they make an appearance.

2) I'm not sure either side would like them to be paired up, as both teams would want these two players as influential as possible - but it'd be a great battle between Niall Sludden and Jack McCaffrey if they were to line out on each other.

3) I think everyone is expecting a defensive game, and as a result both teams know it's vital to keep the free count very low.

Scoring 1-02 could be enough to be top-scorer. I'll go for Ciaran Kilkenny.

4) If they can keep the Dublin half-forward line quiet, that's half of the battle.

Kevin Niblock (Antrim)

1) Dublin. Just about.

2) Ciaran Kilkenny and Niall Sludden

3) Paul Mannion

4) Keep the ball out of the tackle, hope Dublin have a rare off day...and score more!

Eoin Bradley (Derry and Coleraine)

I think Dublin will win (well I hope they do being a Derry man, (big smile)

I don't think Dublin have hit top gear yet and if they do they could beat them by seven or eight.

I think Dean Rock will have a big outcome on the game with frees.

It's hard to say what Tyrone have to do to stop them because they are strong in every position.

Tyrone need more forwards to take responsibility in the scoring department.

They will need every forward top score two or three points if they are going to get victory.. or they could do with a man like myself to score a few goals, lol.

Brian Neeson (Antrim)

1. Dublin

2. Greatest impact on the outcome: Rock, Mannion Kilkenny

3. Top Scorer: Rock

4. Dublin to be complacent and every Tyrone man plays to the best they can and carry out the jobs given.

Seanie Johnston (Cavan)

1 It’s hard to see past Dublin- don't think it will be like last year but they will still win - they will man mark Sludden Donnelly and Harte and hope that McCarthy, Small and probably Murchin will take those players out of the game.

2 Kilkenny is probably Dublin’s key man he gets on so much ball and how Tyrone deal with him is key.

3 Hard to see past Dean Rock being top scorer he is so dependable from frees and also has a real keen eye for a goal.

4 It’s been proven that they can’t just sit back and hope Dublin give them the ball because they won’t.

So they really need to get that balance of attack and defence right - they need to have a craic at pushing up on Dublin’s kick outs and get some go forward ball off them and lastly their shot percentage needs to be higher than it has ever been.

Tony Kernan (Armagh)

1 - Dublin

2 - For Tyrone to win, they need Niall Morgan to have a perfect game.

He has tended to have blips for 5/10 minutes in big games which cost them.

Peter Harte will need to have the game of his life, he won the semi final for them in 10 minutes, he won last years Ulster Final for them.

He needs to deal with the attention he is going to get from John Small and have a big influence on the game.

Dublin will be relying on Dean Rock to be clinical from placed balls because I can’t see Tyrone giving them the same opportunities as last year.

3 - Top scorer could be somebody off the bench. Cormac Costello, Paul Flynn or Kevin McManamon.

4 - Tyrone need to play similar to how they set up against Monaghan and retain four forwards up the field. Mayo had success in recent years in making the Dublin defenders defend and mark a man rather than inviting them on allowing them to get a run on you.

They haven’t been used to opponents putting them under pressure and making them defend. That said, it’s difficult to see anything other than a Dublin win.

Darren O'Hagan (Down)

1. Dublin by five points

2. Greatest impact on the outcome: Ciaran Kilkenny, Dean Rock, Mattie Donnelly paghraig Hampsey..

3. Top Scorer: Paul Mannion

4. put paghraig Hampsey on Kilkenny and not to leave him and put him on the back foot when Tyrone have possession..also to have covert 80% of the shots ..

Anthony Doherty (Down)

1) It’s hard to look past the Dubs given their dominance over the past few years, but it would be nice to see Tyrone tear up the script.

2) For Tyrone, the likes Colm Kavanagh and Mattie Donnelly have been consistently brilliant all year.

If another handful of their teammates play on that same level, they can push Dublin all the way.

For Dublin, any one of their forwards can shoot the lights out, so I think it will be a case of whoever edges the man marking battles between the likes of Mannion/Hampsey, will swing the game in their favour.

3) Both teams have racked up big scores throughout the championship so it’s a hard one to pick. Tight defences might make it a day for the free takers so I’d say it could be between Dean Rock and Connor McAliskey for this one.

4) Easier said than done, but Tyrone will need to really press up hard and deny Dublin handy possession from kickouts.

Being clinical in front of goal will be massive.

Niall Grimley (Down)

1) Dublin

2) Greatest impact on the outcome: Paul Mannion and Cormac Costello

3) Top Scorer: Dean Rock

4) Start how they started v Monaghan (4-1 lead after five minutes). They need to start well and not let Dublin settle into their groove.

Matthew Fitzpatrick (Antrim)

1) Tyrone

2) Greatest impact on the outcome: Kieran McGeary - unsung hero and a quality footballer.

Niall Sludden - key to Tyrone's attack and will be vital in getting Tyrone into the lead in the game

3) Top Scorer: Dean Rock

4) I would like to see Tyrone get in front against Dublin and see how Dublin react to being behind in the second half and latter stages of the game.

Donal O'Hare (Down)

I think Dublin will win, they are still on a different level although Tyrone are closest team to them.

I think Brian Fenton, James McCarthy and Jack McCaffrey will have the greatest impact in the game and will cause Tyrone havoc with direct running and scores from distance.

Dean Rock will finish as top scorer.

Tyrone will need to go man to man on Dublin men mentioned above to limit their running and attack play to a minimum and also be clinical as possible in front of goal.

Eamon McGee (Donegal)

1) Dublin - just simply because they’ve the better team. Tyrone will run them tighter than last years semi final but Dublin will just systematically take them apart

2) Greatest impact on the outcome: Niall Sludden for Tyrone if they want to be in with a chance he needs to be have a major influence. Brian Fenton- will see a lot of ball and didn’t hit his normal heights in Omagh game will be eager to show what he can do.

3) Top Scorer: Dean Rock

4) There's a lot of talk about kickouts. It would be massive blow for Dublin if they did, but I don’t think they can stop Cluxton in Croker for the full 70, so next step is for Tyrone to shut down their big names like Kilkenny, Fenton, Rock and then take the Dublin defence out of their comfort zone.

Easier said than done!

John Clarke (Down)

1 I fancy Dublin but only by two or three points and I think it will come down the wire.

2. Players from Tyrone to have impact will be Morgan, his kickouts will be key, Cavanagh and how he closes the space and frustrates that Dublin forward line.

Richie Donnelly can also have a big say as his physical presence can trouble the Dubs just like Comer did for Galway, Tyrone need to use him early and often.

From a Dublin perspective, you have the usual suspects but Brian Fenton is a key man and is the man that makes them tick alongside Kilkenny.

3. Top scorer? I'll go for Dean Rock for the Dubs and Niall Sludden for Tyrone

4. I think Tyrone have to believe they can win and with Mickey Harte's unbeaten All-Ireland final record they will believe they can.

They need to limit the space and frustrate the Dubs early,

Tyrone will need a goal or two to win but they are capable of getting this.

Tyrone will be hungrier than the Dubs but they need to remain calm and composed and be in the game coming into the last 10 to have any chance.

Won’t be a kick of the ball in it but the Dubs bench and greater big day know how will see them do it.

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