Pat Spillane: Dublin are strong favourites but there are three 'imponderables' that give Mayo hope
Pat Spillane is tipping Dublin to complete an All-Ireland three in-a-row at Croke Park this afternoon - but says there are three 'imponderables' that give Mayo hope of causing an upset.
The westerners are looking for their first All-Ireland crown since 1951, and come into the game full of confidence after slaying Kerry in the semi-final replay, although Jim Gavin's men were arguably even more impressive in crushing Tyrone.
Writing in today's Sunday World, Kerry legend Spillane ultimately predicts a Dublin win, pointing to the impetus that a returning Jack McCaffrey and the introduction of Con O'Callaghan has added to their cause.
However, he does issue a note of caution, giving three reasons why Stephen Rochford's charges might be able to end their long wait for Sam Maguire.
"Essentially, Dublin tick every box, but there are three imponderables which will give Mayo hope," Spillane said.
"Firstly, Dublin haven't faced any real test since the league final. Mayo will be the first team to get into their faces and test their mental resolve.
"Secondly, being within touching distance of becoming the first Dublin side to win three in-a-row since the Civil War will bring additional pressure. The majority of Kerry players had won five All-Ireland medals when we faced Offaly in the five in-a-row final in 1982. But the pressure got to us and we didn't perform.
"Finally, Mayo's unpredictability means the Dublin players may have to improvise, though they are rarely found wanting in that department."
Read Pat Spillane's full column in the Sunday World.