Tyrone v Kildare
Both of these sides were promoted from Division 2 and took to life in Division 1 very well. Tyrone won 5 out of their 7 games while Kildare won 4. Tyrone won the meeting between the two sides in Newbridge in Week 6.
There may be some cause for concern in Kildare as they lost their last two games and have won just 1 in 4 after winning their opening 3 games. They were heavily beaten by Dublin in Week 4 and there may be merit to the suggestion that Kildare were ahead fitness wise in the early weeks which contributed to a healthy start that all but ensured their semi final spot.
Tyrone were beaten in their last game by Kerry but there was enough in their second half performance to suggest there is nothing to worry about as regards form. Their worst loss was to Cork at home when they lost by 6 points but they have been consistent throughout the league, striking a psychological blow when beating Donegal and also boosting their own confidence when beating Dublin in Croke Park.
Over the course of the league Tyrone have been very impressive, more so that Kildare, and seem to have a bit more about them at this stage of the year.
Dublin v Mayo
Dublin topped division 1, winning 5, drawing 1 and losing 1 of their 7 games. Mayo came 4th, winning 3 and losing 4. The sides met in Week 3 where a Bernard Brogan inspired Dublin beat Mayo 2-14 to 0-16. It was widely thought that the sides could meet again in the knockout stages and so it has come to pass.
Dublin have been impressive in the league with some comprehensive wins, particularly against Cork, Kerry, Kildare and Down, finishing with an impressive score difference of +41. They have been dominant and rightly installed as favourites for the title. Jim Gavin has tried out a number of players successfully and there is no doubt about Dublin’s strength in depth, the challenge is going to be narrowing down the selection for his championship side.
While Dublin can be happy with their league campaign so too can Mayo. After 64 minutes of their last game against Cork, Mayo were in Division 2 as things stood. But two points from Cillian O Connor gave them the win and a spot in the semi finals. Had Mayo not made the semi finals they could still be confident due to the fact that they won 2 of their last 3 games, thus ending in winning form which they can take into the championship. Contrast that with Kildare, who finished ahead of Mayo but have lost 3 of their last 4. Mayo have been competitive in every game in the league, a four point loss to Dublin being their biggest loss. Given that they started their training later than most and James Horan can be very happy with where his team are at the end of 7 league games.
There have been some memorable games between these sides in recent years and is a rivalry which has grown in this time. Their week 3 encounter was another entertaining game and the same can be expected Sunday. Both sides play attacking football and can rack up scores. Dublin fans will want to beat Mayo and get over erase any self doubt that exists when they face Mayo in knock out football as Mayo have ended Dublin’s All Ireland bids twice in All Ireland semi finals. A Mayo win would leave that doubt in Dublin minds and produce a psychological blow for Mayo for any potential Summer clash. James Horan will hope that his side does not shut off, as they have tended to do so in all games so far, as Dublin have the potential to really cause some damage when they get on a roll.
This should be a close encounter that could produce another entertaining clash and maybe another nice day out for the fans from the West.