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GAA Nerd Mike Kelly Puts His Money Where His Mouth Is

GAA Nerd Mike Kelly Puts His Money Where His Mouth Is
GAA Nerds
By GAA Nerds
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GAA nerd Mike Kelly gives his tips for GAA GPA All-Star Young Footballer Of The Year.

Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

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How they rate:

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Robbie Hennelly 8

Tom Cunniffe 7

Ger Cafferkey 9


Chris Barrett 7

Lee Keegan 8

Donal Vaughan 8


Colm Boyle 8

Aiden O'Shea 9

Seamus O'Shea 7


Kevin McLoughlin 7

Keith Higgins 7

Alan Dillon 8


Cillian O'Connor 9

Alan Freeman 7

Andy Moran 8

 Total: 117 - 110

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Stephen Cluxton 8

Kevin O'Brien 6


Rory O'Carroll 7

Johnny Cooper 6


James McCarthy 7

Ger Brennan 7

Jack McCaffrey 8

Cian O'Sullivan 7

Michael Dara MacCauley 8

Paul Flynn 8

Ciaran Kilkenny 7

Diarmuid Connolly 8

Paul Mannion 7

Paddy Andrews 7

Bernard Brogan 9


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The ins and outs

Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Looking through both sides and going on potential I believe that Mayo are superior to Dublin throughout the starting fifteen. Keith Higgins would clearly be receiving a higher rating if he was playing in his usual corner back spot while Brogan is only receiving such a high rating because that is the level he is capable of reaching.

Dublin's weak link is their full back line, and that can be seen in Cooper and O'Brien, both of whom have been roasted on at least two occasions this season. Alternatively, Mayo's strongest positions are also in their back line but it is their half back line which have been performing phenomenally this summer.

From goalkeeper through midfield there is no team in the country better than the westerners, but in the forward six there are not many that can match Dublin. Had Rock and McMenamin been included at 14 then their ratings would be even higher but with Mannion and Andrews leading the way in their full forward line they are not as powerful as they can be.

Substitutes were left out because it is even more speculation as to who will be introduced. Dublin could continue their policy of being able to introduce four or five top level forwards or they could be forced into some changes in their defense, which will really throw a spanner in the works of their game plan. Mayo are similar, in that they have a very powerful bench (which has accounted for more scores than the Dublin bench) but until game day you cannot even guess who will get a run out.

These ratings do not necessarily mean that Mayo will come out on top against their capital opponents but should at least ten or eleven players perform to the best of their ability then we should see Sam heading west for the winter. If all fifteen, plus subs, perform to their ability then the Dublin defense could be in for a similar afternoon that that which the Donegal rearguard enjoyed in the quarter-finals.

Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

Dublin's policy of all out attack has worked well up until this point but Mayo are a side capable of defending. Dublin have not encountered a side who can defend yet this Summer. Should Mayo get a start or put up a score similar to what Kerry did in the semi final then Dublin are in trouble because Mayo will certainly not concede a big deficit. So far this season Mayo have conceded an average of 11 points per game, that kind of stingy defending will need to come up trumps against the Dublin attack and it certainly can.

Dublin, however, do have access to the forwards who are capable of unlocking the Mayo defense. Bernard Brogan owes Dublin a big performance, while Diarmuid Connolly, Paul Flynn and Dean Rock have all put in and are capable of big performances. All of these will need to be at the top of their game to get the best of a Mayo defense which includes all stars Ger Cafferkey and Lee Keegan, as well as Keith Higgins who will likely be floating around the back six for much of the game.

There are so many variables to look at heading into this Sunday's final and fans of both sides will fully believe that their side are going to come out on top. The conversations over the next few days will be about 'Cillian's shoulder', 'Will Ger Brennan be trusted?', 'can Aiden O'Shea continue his fine form?'. All these questions and many more will keep going around, and of course rumours will abound between now and Sunday. Everything from "did you hear so & so sprained their wrist?" through to "Did you hear player x was abducted by aliens and wont be back by 3.30 on Sunday?"

Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

For the fan I say sit back and enjoy the build up, release all that nervous energy on Sunday afternoon and get in early to cheer on the minors. Even if your team is not involved these are the stars of the future and deserve the support of Dublin fans just as much as Mayo and Tyrone fans. If your from Mayo and have your Hill 16 ticket make sure to be in for the minor game and to get a good central position!

It's a tough one to call but I think I will let my heart rule my head and trump for a Mayo victory by the slenderest margin.

You can follow Mike at @kellymike87.

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