Sky Sports analyst Peter Canavan looks ahead to Saturday’s All-Ireland final replay between Dublin and Kerry.
If I were Jim Gavin, I wouldn’t make personnel changes for the replay.
I would give those players a chance to redeem themselves. They’ve played to a high level this year, but didn’t hit those standards in the drawn game.
In terms of overall hunger and application, Kerry were a step ahead.
Gavin has a choice. He either says, ‘last week wasn’t good enough, I’m making changes’, or ‘I’m not making any changes, I want to see big improvements individually.’ If the latter is the case, then I think you’ll see Dublin in a superior position.
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The fact that Gavin left it so late to turn to his bench the last day was surprising.
However, I would disagree with those saying the substitutes didn’t make an impact.
The equalising score that they got came from a Kevin McManamon turnover, while Eoin Murchan was also involved in the build-up.
In the short space of time that Diarmuid Connolly was on the pitch, he got on the ball and made a difference. He very nearly kicked a point himself.
Cormac Costello was very unlucky to see a chance go wide.
So you’re talking about inches from the Dublin subs having a massive effect, to what some people said was no impression. So there are very fine margins in that regard.
Had they been on the field earlier, they could have changed the outcome because they did make a difference when they were introduced.
Con O’Callaghan and Paul Mannion are likely headed for All-Star awards, but only managed 0-3 between them against Kerry.
It was a difficult game. As a corner forward, you’re looking to go against a defender who people were saying is on the top of his game, and nobody is getting the better of.
For me, as an inside forward, I didn’t particularly look forward to the games that people were suggesting that I’d be roasting the opposition fullbacks.
I think that’s exactly what was happening with O’Callaghan and Mannion. A lot of the commentary was flippant and disrespectful to Jason Foley and Tadhg Morley, and they had a serious point to prove.
I expect to see Mannion and O’Callaghan more effective on the scoreboard this Saturday. They were winning possession, especially in the first half when the ball was going in.
They did look like scoring threats. But so much depends on the quality of the distribution.
If Dublin can get a stranglehold on the midfield, you’ll see a much bigger return from the two boys inside.
Did Kerry miss their chance?
The Kingdom edged Dublin in most of the stats: 44-42 for possessions, and 31-29 in total shots. But their conversion rate was poor – just 44 per cent compared to Dublin’s 50 per cent.
They’ll look back on that with regret.
I felt before the first game that there could be a 10-point winning margin for Dublin. Until the sending off happened before half-time, it looked like that was going to be the outcome.
So many things went in Kerry’s favour – Brian Fenton had one of his poorest games in a Dublin jersey, Kerry bossed the midfield sector, O’Callaghan and Mannion only scored 0-3 between them and Kerry had an extra man for the majority of the game.
But Kerry didn’t win.
I think an increase in work-rate from the Dublin players will see a massive difference.
Kerry are an emerging force, they’re going to be here for years to come. I think we’ll see a big game from them, but I still expect to see a more ruthless, physical Dubs team.
Dublin to win with something to spare.