Wednesday 22 November 2017

Our Dublin/Mayo Dream Team selection

Eight from Mayo and seven Dubliners make up the selection ahead of the All-Ireland semi-final replay

Mayo's Aidan O'Shea in action against Philly McMahon of Dublin.
Mayo's Aidan O'Shea in action against Philly McMahon of Dublin.
Declan Whooley

Declan Whooley

The Leinster and Connacht champions will do battle again this weekend for the right to face Kerry in the All-Ireland Final and here is our Dream Team selection.

While some high-profile players miss out and others have had a slight change of position, it must be remembered it is based on the championship form of 2015.

1. Stephen Cluxton (Dublin)

Had a shaky final ten minutes last weekend and failed to land what would have been a match-winning free at the death on a day when his accuracy from frees deserted him, but still the most influential goalkeeper in the game.

Stephen Cluxton’s late free looks to be heading over the bar, but it eventually tails off left and drifts wide of the posts

Rob Hennelly was back between the sticks for Mayo but Cluxton holds onto the number one jersey.

2. Philly McMahon (Dublin)

His running battle with Aidan O'Shea has grabbed the headlines, but it must be noted in general play he acquitted himself well and has been rock solid all season. Often found in attack for the Dubs, he stuck rigidly to the task on O'Shea and all eyes will be on the pair on Saturday if they are to square off again.

3. Rory Carroll (Dublin)

Arguably the most specialised position on the pitch, O'Carroll goes about his business in an unfussed manner. A facial injury curtailed his involvement early on last time out, but another battle with Cillian O'Connor could be worth the admission price alone.

Rory O’Carroll leaves the action with a blood

4. Keith Higgins (Mayo)

Former Donegal manager Jim McGuinness recently described the Ballyhaunis man as the finest corner back in the game, and who are we to disagree with a man who knows a thing or two about defensive systems and qualities?

An outstanding man-marker who is not afraid to lead a counter-attack, Higgins has been a tremendous servant to the Mayo cause.

5. Lee Keegan (Mayo)

Was Mayo's only scorer from play in the opening half last week and has been a real threat all season on the scoreboard. Tireless energy and rarely wastes possession, his battle with Diarmuid Connolly resulted in the Dublin player seeing red and is likely to have a new opponent on Saturday.

Lee Keegan

Player of the Year contender.

6. Cian O'Sullivan (Dublin)

The versatile performer has answered Jim Gavin's call in a number of positions, but sweeping in front of his full-back line is the latest task he is carrying out with typical efficiency.

A strong ball carrier, he has added real solidity to the Dublin rear-guard.

7. Colm Boyle (Mayo)

It was little surprise that it was the swashbuckling wing-back who engineered the crucial penalty late on against the Dubs which Cillian O'Connor converted to lead the comeback. His defensive prowess often goes undetected and kept a tight leash on Paul Flynn.

Colm Boyle, seen here in action against Bernard Brogan, was outstanding for Mayo

8. Seamie O'Shea (Mayo)

One half of the most powerful midfield partnership in Gaelic Football this season. Has grown into a real leader in the team and a huge influence on those around him.

9. Tom Parsons (Mayo)

Between injuries and form, Michael Darragh Macauley has struggled to match his performance levels of recent seasons, while Parson's season has been the polar opposite.

30 August 2015; Tom Parsons, Mayo, in action against Jack McCaffrey, Dublin. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship, Semi-Final, Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Strong in the air and noted for surging runs through the middle, has facilitated the deployment of Aidan O'Shea into the forward division. Brian Fenton has impressed, but fails to dislodge the Mayo pairing.

10. Diarmuid O'Connor (Mayo)

With four successive All Stars at wing-forward, Paul Flynn is perhaps the most complete player in the game, but this season he has not enjoyed his usual dominance in games.

The Ballintubber man has been a revelation this season, a strong work ethic and ability to take on defenders, while he has also contributed on the scoreboard. His second-half effort last Sunday with the outside of his foot was one of the points of the game.

11. Ciaran Kilkenny (Dublin)

A brilliant link player and distributor, the Castleknock man was a real handful for Mayo and is a consistent scorer from centre-forward, his third successive outing notching three points.

Ciaran Kilkenny, in action against Mayo’s David Drake, was the focal point for Dublin’s attack in the first half

Orchestrates play from the pivotal position with real poise.

12. Diarmuid Connolly (Dublin)

Received his marching orders at the death and unless he gets a reprieve, will sit out Saturday's replay.

An outstanding forward, he was one of a number of players targeted for special treatment, and finally cracked in a game where he expertly dispatched a first-half penalty.

His absence would be a real fillip for Mayo.

13. Cillian O'Connor (Mayo)

Incredible to think the man-of-the-match failed to score from play against Dublin, but his unerring free-taking and cool penalty kept Mayo heads above water in what was a masterclass of composure from placed balls.

O'Shea's presence has eased the burden in the full-forward line and the worrying thing from Jim Gavin's point of view is there is scope for improvement from the deadly marksmen.

Cillian O'Connor, Mayo, scores his side's goal from a penalty. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship, Semi-Final, Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Tomás Greally / SPORTSFILE

14. Aidan O'Shea (Mayo)

So much of the Dublin game plan centered on keeping tabs on the Breaffy danger man and at times was left isolated in the full forward line.

His ability to win primary possession and run at the heart of the defence has caused consternation and all summer. He will hope for more support this weekend and should the Leinster champions put the shackles on the versatile operator, it could go  a long way to securing victory.

15. Bernard Brogan (Dublin)

There have been rumours that Brogan is struggling for full fitness as he tries to shake off a hand injury. Showed his class with a superbly taken point in the first half, shaking off the attentions of Keith Higgins, jinking back to his left foot while bouncing the ball to find more space before sending the ball over the bar.

59 brogans 1048143.png
From the TV camera angle behind the goal it appears that Brogan’s shot was wide but Barrett said yesterday that Hawk-Eye technology would have picked up on it if that was the case

A superb campaign, his selfless play has been a feature throughout.

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport