Football Championship 2019 Preview

As we enter summer 2019 our attentions turn to the Football Championship and we ask ourselves a few questions.

Will Dublin get their historic five in a row or will they be stopped by arch rivals Kerry who have a youthful squad full of talent under new boss Peter Keane?

Will league Champions Mayo finally break their curse and capture the Sam Maguire?

The Champions Dublin

We can’t deny that Dublin have dominated the football scene for quite some time now as they target their historic five in a row. Jim Gavin’s men have looked unbeatable and untouchable with a squad full of All-Stars.  

The young talent just keeps on coming, who can forget the season Brian Howard had last year winning an All-star in his first senior season and  narrowly missing out on young footballer of the year. With the amount of depth in talent, great players like Eoin O’Gara and Paul Flynn have missed out on making the starting team.

They didn’t look as if they were missing star Diarmuid Connolly who was away in America. Dublin play a fast-paced game scoring plenty of points and it’s very hard to beat them. Although, other teams will get some renewed hope by Dublin losing three times in the Allianz Football League this year.

They  missed out on the final for the first time since 2012 , losing to both Monaghan and Kerry on the road and convincingly losing to Tyrone at home. It was far from the campaign the All-Ireland Champions would have been hoping for.

There were some bright signs however as Cormac Costello looked very good throughout the league scoring 2-13 and young star Darren Gavin looked good with a few stints off the bench. Despite, their average league campaign the Dubs would still  have to be clear favourites to retain Sam in 2019.

The Challengers

Kerry haven’t featured in an All-Ireland final since 2015 and they would have been disappointed with failing to get out of their super 8’s group last year. Although, under new management in Peter Keane they look to be a young team full of potential as they only lost to Mayo twice in the campaign one of them being the final.

Sean O’Shea was the real star of the league, he was the top-scorer in the league with 1-50. Peter Keane has previously said he’s building a team for the future and players like O’Shea, young player of the year 2018, David Clifford and Dara Moynihan are certainly players who will be key to Kerry’s success for this and many years to come.

If they don’t win the All-Ireland this year it’s only a matter of time before they capture Sam again. Whether or not they can dethrone Dublin we will have to wait and see but they’ll definitely be in with a chance come August.

League champions Mayo surprised a few people: they were the only team to defeat Kerry in the league. Returning Manager James Horan led the men from the West to their first final win in Croke Park since 2001. They looked much improved from last year’s championship where they crashed out against Kildare in the qualifiers.

Aidan O’Shea put in some big performances and Mayo fans will be hoping he’ll carry that form into the Championship. A real positive for Mayo is their ability to score through their forwards and their backs.

They will definitely hope to use their league success as a platform for the championship.  Will they finally end their 68 year wait for an all-Ireland title?

Last year’s runners up Tyrone are another serious contender for the All-Ireland title. They have been on an upward trend for a few years now and the new full-forward trio of Peter Harte, Cathal McShane and Mattie Donnelly could be the winning formula for the Northern men this year scoring 6-46 between them.

They would have been disappointed with their start to the league only managing to get 1 point from three games, but they went on a four game winning streak beating Dublin in Croke Park in the process. They had a strong finish to the league, that promises big things for the championship.

It’s fair to say we could be on the verge of a very competitive championship season and there is reason to believe it won’t be another Dublin run-away victory. League champions Mayo will be hoping to end their long wait for glory and the kings of the noughties Tyrone and Kerry will fancy their chances at glory after both beating Dublin. A big 2019 football championship summer awaits: bring on the football!

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