Wednesday 21 February 2018

Dublin bid to emulate Heffo's Heroes

Dublin manager Jim Gavin during a press conference. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Dublin manager Jim Gavin during a press conference. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

A Leinster football record that has stood since the 1970s will be equalled tomorrow if Dublin live up to their hot favourites' rating to beat Westmeath in the final.

Victory for Jim Gavin's men would crown Dublin champions for a sixth successive year, a feat last achieved by Heffo's Heroes in 1974-'79.

A win would also clinch an 11th Leinster title in 12 seasons for Dublin and guarantee them a place in the All-Ireland quarter-final for a 13th successive year.

Westmeath, 25/1 outsiders to beat Dublin (1/100), are seeking their first Leinster title since 2004 when they won for the first time.

St Tiernach's Park, Clones is expected to be sold out for tomorrow's Donegal v Tyrone clash, their first in an Ulster final since 1989.

Donegal, who have Neil McGee back after suspension, are bidding to win title for the fourth time in six years while Tyrone were last successful in 2010.

They have lost their last four championship games against Donegal, who are appearing in the final for a sixth successive year.

Galway will be trying to bridge an eight-year wait for a Connacht title when they replay the final against Roscommon, who were last crowned champions in 2010.

It's the first time they have met in a Connacht final replay since 1998 when Galway triumphed in Dr Hyde Park before going on to win the All-Ireland title.

Roscommon are seeking their first championship win over Galway since 2001 when they won the Connacht semi-final in Tuam Stadium before the result was reversed in an All-Ireland quarter-final clash in Castlebar.

The race for the Sam Maguire Cup will be cut to 12 today when four qualifier ties clear the way for Monday's Round 4 draw. It's a massive day for Longford, who host Cork, after eliminating Ulster pair, Down and Monaghan, in the last two rounds.

The biggest crowd at today's qualifiers will be in Castlebar this evening (7.0) when Mayo host Kildare in a game that will be shown on Sky Sports.

RTé will show the Ulster (2.0) and Leinster (4.0) finals tomorrow.

Unusually, the four provinces have four counties each in the last 16.

Galway, Roscommon, Mayo and Sligo represent Connacht; Dublin, Westmeath, Kildare and Longford fly the Leinster flag; Donegal, Tyrone, Cavan and Derry are still in contention for Ulster as are Kerry, Cork, Tipperary and Clare for Munster.

The draws for Round 4 will take place on RTé's 'Morning Ireland' radio programme at around 8.35am on Monday.

The format will be as follows:

4A: Winners of Sligo/Clare and Cavan/Derry v Galway/Roscommon losers and Tipperary.

4B: Winners of Longford/Cork and Mayo v Kildare v Dublin/Westmeath and Donegal/Tyrone losers. Repeat pairings from provincial games will not be allowed. The 4A games will take place next weekend, followed by 4B a week later.

Irish Independent

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