GAA Football

All-Ireland Senior Football Championship final - all the big game analysis ahead as Tyrone take on Dublin

Padraig Hampsey kept a close watch on Conor McManus in the All-Ireland semi-final win over Monaghan, and on Donegal talisman Michael Murphy before that. Picture by Philip Walsh
Neil Loughran

Man of the moment

Padraig Hampsey (Tyrone)

YOU'D be spoilt for choice if you were about to start picking out Dublin's leading lights, but Hampsey has emerged as a defensive bedrock for the Red Hands and will have a huge role to play if Tyrone are to have any chance today. A tough, sticky man-marker, as evidenced by his performance on big-hitters like Donegal's Michael Murphy and Monaghan's Conor McManus, the Coalisland man is also a quality footballer and poses an attacking threat of his own when bursting forward. It will be interesting to see who he picks up tomorrow – conventional wisdom suggests it will be the metronomic Ciaran Kilkenny, but it would be no surprise to see him on the pacy Paul Mannion considering the roasting he gave the Red Hand full-back line in last year's semi-final.

Team Talk

Dublin

GIVEN that Dublin have reached this stage relatively untroubled, Jim Gavin is unlikely to rock the boat ahead of tomorrow's final, with Eoin Murchan expected to keep his place ahead of Michael Fitzsimons.

Possible team: S Cluxton; J Cooper, P McMahon, C O'Sullivan; J Small, E Murchan, J McCaffrey; B Fenton, J McCarthy; B Howard, C Kilkenny, N Scully; D Rock, C O'Callaghan, P Mannion

Tyrone

MARK Bradley has been recalled to the Tyrone attack, replacing Lee Brennan in the only change to the starting team from the semi-final win over Monaghan.

Kieran McGeary retains his place at wing-forward with fit-again Conor Meyler, who missed that victory over the Farneymen with a knee injury, named on the bench.

N Morgan; M McKernan, R McNamee, P Hampsey; T McCann, F Burns, P Harte; C Cavanagh, C McShane; M Donnelly, N Sludden, K McGeary; M Bradley, R Donnelly, C McAliskey

Key battle

Tiernan McCann (Tyrone) v Jack McCaffrey (Dublin)

THE Clontarf speedster actually seems to have got quicker after coming back from that horrific cruciate ligament injury suffered in last year's All-Ireland final. Ripped Galway to shreds at times in the semi-final, and Tyrone must ensure he doesn't have a similar effect tomorrow. The athletic Conor Meyler would have been the obvious choice to watch McCaffrey and, although not named in the starting 15 as he battles back from the knee injury that saw him miss the victory over Monaghan three weeks ago, it would be no surprise to see the Omagh man line out. If he doesn't, the pacy, super-fit Tiernan McCann would be charged with trying to curb McCaffrey's influence, without completely negating the attacking instincts from deep that bring so much to this Tyrone team.

Last Championship meeting

August 27 2017, All-Ireland SFC semi-final: Dublin 2-17 Tyrone 0-11

TYRONE readers may want to turn away now. It was the game everybody had been waiting for to see how the Red Hands would stack up against the all-conquering Dubs when the chips were down.

The answer was emphatic as they were blown away, 12 points the difference in the end. Jim Gavin's men took control from the off, and goals from Con O'Callaghan and substitute Eoghan O'Gara put the seal on the most straightforward of victories.

Only five minutes had elapsed when Philly McMahon intercepted a Niall Sludden hand-pass before the Ballymun man found O'Callaghan in space. The Cuala ace had only one thing on his mind as he made his way towards Niall Morgan's goal, driving through the heart of a Tyrone defence before finishing the job emphatically.

The Red Hands never recovered from that body blow as the Dubs cruised into another All-Ireland final.

Previous Championship meetings

2017 All-Ireland SFC semi-final: Dublin 2-17 Tyrone 0-11

2011 All-Ireland SFC quarter-final: Dublin 0-22 Tyrone 0-15

2010 All-Ireland SFC quarter-final: Dublin 1-15 Tyrone 0-13

2008 All-Ireland SFC quarter-final: Dublin 1-8 Tyrone 3-14

2005 All-Ireland SFC quarter-final: Dublin 1-14 Tyrone 1-14

2005 All-Ireland SFC quarter-final replay: Dublin 1-14 Tyrone 2-18

1995 All-Ireland SFC final: Dublin 1-10 Tyrone 0-12

1984 All-Ireland SFC semi-final: Dublin 2-11 Tyrone 0-8

Who's the ref?

Conor Lane (Cork)

TOMORROW will be Lane's second All-Ireland final after he refereed the drawn 2016 decider between Dublin and Mayo. That final finished in a draw, with Lane showing six yellow cards and one black card to James McCarthy.

In this year's Championship Lane refereed the Super 8 clashes between Galway and Monaghan, and Dublin v Donegal, as well as the Ulster semi-final meeting of Monaghan and Fermanagh, and the Connacht quarter-final between Galway and Mayo.

He was also in charge of Qualifier matches between Carlow and Tyrone, and Fermanagh and Kildare.

Weather watch

THE sun looks likely to be hiding behind clouds by the time throw-in comes around tomorrow afternoon, with a chance of rain at some stage. Temperatures around the 20 degree mark, so it could be close. Will it be close by the time the final whistle blows though?

Betting box

Dublin 1/6

Tyrone 11/2

Draw 14/1

Handicap

Dublin (-6) Evs

Tyrone (+6) Evs

Draw (-6) 10/1

Analysis by Andy Watters and Neil Loughran

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