Sunday 28 December 2014

The 'blinder' All-Ireland final that's just too close to call

Published 20/09/2013 | 05:00

Aoibhinn Ní Shuilleabháin
Nicky Byrne
Bill O'Herlihy
Martin King
Frances Black
Roz Purcell

Some well-known personalities give their big-game verdicts

Aoibhinn Ní Shuilleabháin

RTE Radio One Presenter

I'll be actually at the match, which I'm thrilled about, and I think half of Mayo will be migrating up to Dublin. I think this Mayo team has a tenacity that is different to previous years, as even when they're losing in the first half, they come back with even more guts in the second half, and they won't lose their nerve.

I'm delighted that it's Dublin in the final with Mayo, because I think there'll be great banter and camaraderie and we'll all shake hands at the end.

My abiding GAA memory is of the 2006 quarter-final, where Mayo played a blinder and beat Dublin really well, and all eight members of my family were jumping on the couches and windowsills in the sitting-room. Another memory was where all eight of us went to the final in one car, and it took seven hours to get home. My mother swore, "Never again!"

Your partner Ryan Tubridy is from Dublin, so will that cause friction in your house as someone's team is going to lose?

Ah there'll be no rift there, but look, there is no question of my loyalty to my home county of Mayo (laughs).

Martin King

TV3 Presenter

As a massive Dubs fan, I'm really nervous, because I think that Mayo are the more experienced team. A lot of their players are at their peak, whereas a lot of ours are young, but what really impressed me was how calm and impressive Dublin remained in the semi-final against Kerry.

My favourite memory is being at the final of 1976 when I was a kid, where Dublin won after watching them lose to Kerry the previous year. Kevin Moran cut through the Kerry defence and set the tone for the day.

The 2011 final was the standout moment for me though – it was like a movie and you couldn't script it. It'll be a tough, tight game, but I'm going with my heart and hoping for a Dublin win.

You have some routines when it comes to matches?

Yes I'm superstitious, and my clothes are already laid out for Sunday, right down to my lucky jocks!

Frances Black

Singer and Celebrity Apprentice Contestant

My nerves are gone, and I am so anxious and excited for Sunday. I've always been a massive Dublin supporter, and my best friend at school, Imelda, and I were obsessed with the Dubs – they were like The Beatles to us. It was the era of Heffo's Army, and I fancied Anton O'Toole, and she fancied Bernard Brogan senior, and we had posters of them all over our walls.

They were probably the most hated team at the time, as they played a bit dirty, but we loved them. The current Dublin team is mind-blowing and we're so proud of them – they fight so hard to play for their county.

Who do you think will win on Sunday?

I can't call it because both teams are brilliant, and I'd say whoever wins it will only be by one or two points. That's what makes it such a fantastic game.

Nicky Byrne

Singer and TV Presenter

I think Dublin will win on Sunday. I'm biased, but they look far superior in fitness and strength than any other team in the country – they've obviously trained very hard. Also, you can see there is a real team unity amongst them and they have that 'die for each other attitude,' which you need in any group attempting to win and conquer anything.

Of course, as Kerry is the team that Dublin fear most deep down, having disposed of them will have given the lads a major confidence boost. I will be there and I'm excited about a great day on Sunday. Up the Dubs!

What's your favourite GAA memory?

I was listening in on top of a mountain in South Africa in 2011, as we were shooting a Westlife album cover. The photographer wanted the sunset shot, which you lose in seconds. The Sligo lads were shouting at me to get back into the shot, but I had ­earphones in and was oblivious to their calls. Then Cluxton's free sailed over, and I was dancing around the place. Actually, maybe that's why we broke up! Stevo Cluxton's fault.

Roz Purcell

Model and Celebrity Bainisteoir Finalist

In my opinion, Dublin are the best physically conditioned team in the country and play like professionals – they'll be very hard to beat. However the star of the show for me will be Mayo's Aidan O'Shea.

Mentally it must be very hard to lose so many finals but ultimately Mayo have to believe they can. The psychological aspect of it is a huge factor – they need to forget about previous defeats and go for the win.

My favourite GAA memory is when the Tipperary Camogie team won the All Ireland back in 1999. Hurling is so big in Tipp, because we are pretty good in fairness, and finally the girls got there chance, they were huge role models growing up.

Your dream GAA dinner guest?

Mick O'Dwyer would be my dream dinner guest. He managed Kerry and played for Kerry, he comes across as a gentleman and would have a good few stories to tell.

Bill O'Herlihy

RTE Sports Presenter

I'm a tribal Corkman, but I've been living in Dublin longer than I've been living in Cork, so I'd certainly hope that Dublin win. I'm not a great fan of Gaelic football though, because it seems to me that frequently there are no rules, and a lot is let go that shouldn't be let go, so that puts me off. Dublin are a very good team, and they have proven that, but Mayo are also very strong. I think the best thing that could happen to the GAA is having Dublin in the final, as it highlights the games in a way that doesn't happen when any other county is involved. I'd say the atmosphere will be fantastic on Sunday, but having seen that a pair of tickets was on offer on eBay for €5,000, I couldn't afford that so I'll be watching it at home.

What is your prediction for the game?

I think it will be very close, but Dublin will just shade it. They have a fantastic keeper in Cluxton, who is a great skipper as well, but the team as a whole is terrific.

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