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’?

The Kerryman (North Kerry) - - SPORT -

Paul BREN­NAN

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?

Damian STACK

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.

Ja­son O’CON­NOR

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.

Sean O’SUL­LI­VAN

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.

Timmy SHEEHAN

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.

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