What county is best placed to dethrone All-Ireland champions Dublin, what team could be this year’s ‘bolter’, and who is most likely to be the ‘Footballer of the Year’?
NEW managers in Kerry and Mayo should get that first year bounce, and while Mayo could pick off Dublin in a semi-final Kerry probably have the best set of players to beat the Dubs in a final. A ‘bolter’? Outside of last year’s Super 8 eight, and Mayo, the only counties that could go deep are Cork, Meath and Down, with the Rebels coming from such a low base that a Super 8 place would be huge progress. FOTY? Clifford if Kerry steal the title, or could a certain Diarmuid Connolly sweep back in and conquer all?
I JUST have this sneaky feeling Kerry might end up as Dublin’s most realistic challengers. They were a long way down the pecking order last year, but none of the teams ahead of them look uncatchable. The gap between Dublin and the rest is huge, but the gaps between the rest are not insurmountable. Kerry could easily find themselves in a final this year. As for a bolter perhaps Kildare could do something in Leinster to end Dublin’s dominance there. FOTY: Stephen Cluxton.
PERSONNEL-WISE it should really be only Kerry. The Minor successes have produced no end of candidates as much as the almost professional ‘process’ in Dublin. With one of the key figures in the Minor success story at the helm now, there can be no claims of youth not getting its fling. Donegal’s first 15 is very impressive but Mayo look like being the new entry to the Super 8 at this point. If Kerry deny history I expect David Clifford or Seán O’Shea will arguably be the key architects.
USUALLY when that question is asked Kerry is the most likely answer but I fear we might have dropped down the pecking order. I think the challenger to Dublin will come from Ulster or Connacht in the form of Monaghan, Tyrone, Mayo and Galway. Kerry will be in the running, but I believe all those teams are ahead of us at present. Mayo may be the ‘bolter’, but James Horan might find there is a bit of rebuilding to do. Paul Mannion looks like a guy in the form of his career and could claim the POTY gong.
TYRONE were beaten semi-finalists in 2017 and finalists in 2018, and with the return of such as Conan Grugan, Kyle Coney and Darren McCurry to the panel, and the emergence of exciting young talent Darragh Canavan, they will have a lot more options and firepower up front. They look to be the best equipped to halt the Drive for Five. Meath, who ran Tyrone so close last season in the Qualifiers in Navan, could be this year’s ‘bolter’, with Peter Harte emerging as the Footballer of the Year.