Kevin Cassidy

Kevin Cassidy: The day is here

ALL the pretenders to the throne have fallen. All of those teams who thought that this was their year have fallen in their quest.

We are now we are left with the best two teams in the country and what a spectacle it should be.

At the start of the year Kerry would definitely be in the conversation when talking about potential All-Ireland winners but Dublin may not have been.


As outsiders looking in, all we can go on is what we see in front of us on the pitch and Dublin did struggle at times this year but deep down they knew they were building something special.

You have to give Dessie Farrell and his management team great credit as they have made down pretty ballsy calls over the last few months.

Dessie and co. realised that they needed to bolster their panel and they sent out SOS calls to some of Dublin’s most trusted soldiers. lads that just never let you down.

When Paul Mannion, Jack McCaffrey and then Stephen Cluxton rejoined the panel this year, Dublin had a bench again and we started to see the Dublin of old.

Dessie got a lot of stick especially for the Cluxton call, but now all the experts are commentating on how many clean sheets he has since his return so I think we can say that Dessie knew what he was doing.

The likes of McCaffrey and Mannion now offer something different and it allows Dublin to finish games strongly again as they have massive options off the bench.

From a Kerry point of view, they are where they want to be. They have built nicely all season and now they have all of their key men in top form as they head into the decider.

Obviously, most of Dublin’s planning early on this week will be about how to stop the machine that is David Clifford.

Mick Fitsimons will get the job of trying to tie down the Fossa man but that’s an impossible job. Mick Fitz have been the best man marker in the game for the last 10 years, but Dublin are not foolish enough to think that David Clifford will be kept out of the game.

I would imagine the game-plan is to plan for Clifford scoring while more focus might be applied to the likes of Paudie Clifford and Sean O’Shea further out the pitch.

If Dublin can get a stronghold around the middle third then they will know that they are in with a great chance. Kerry’s midfield were good against Tyrone in the quarter-final, but in the semi-final it didn’t fire as well.

This is an area where we know Dublin are seriously strong in so that battle will be fascinating.

I’d imagine most people will go for a Kerry win but back a few months ago when word came out about the lads rejoining the panel, I just got the feeling that Dublin were building something special.

I firmly believe that this Dublin team have been planning their whole season to be fully firing at this time of the year.

If we look back at their league and also their early championship games, they gave lads game time and also allowed older lads to slowly return to action. Now they have their full panel to pick from.

Kerry have been extremely impressive over the last 18 months since Jack O’Connor returned, but I just have a feeling that Dublin will win on Sunday and the likes of Cluxton and James McCarthy will bow out as GAA immorts. Dublin by two.

On another note, it’s interesting to see that we have appointed two former players in Martin McHugh and Anthony Molloy (inset) onto the management selection committee here in Donegal.

In the past people have called for some past players to have an input so now that this is in place, it should improve things here in terms of how we go about attracting and appointing managers so I look forward to the months ahead.

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