As part of our build-up to the All Ireland football final between Tyrone and Dublin, we asked Cork’s Brian Hurley to give us his thoughts on the key aspects of the game, his Footballer of the Year, and of course, his prediction on who will lift the Sam Maguire.
1. Who will be Tyrone’s key man and why?
I think Niall Morgan for the simple reason that his kick-outs will have a big impact on the game. Throughout the Super 8s, he has been superb and even against Dublin in Omagh, he stood out. I like to think goalkeepers in GAA are like quarterbacks. He got the ball up the field very quickly for Tyrone and I think if he can do the same Sunday and obviously keep out any goals, Tyrone won’t be far away.
2. Who will be Dublin’s key man and why?
Ciarán Kilkenny. He’s the master of this Dublin team for me, he makes them all gel and always chips in with three or four points per game.
He’s the link man and always puts in a massive shift. Tyrone will have to shut him down if they want to bring Sam up north.
3. Dublin are going for four-in-a-row whereas Tyrone are in the final for the first time in a decade. Will Dublin manage the occasion better?
At this stage, I imagine they would. For Tyrone, there must be a huge amount of excitement up north and sometimes that’s not the best thing leading up to a game as it can add to the nerves. But I still think Tyrone believe in their system and style of play so the players will bring confidence from that and will concentrate on the performance more than the hype.
4. Million dollar question. Who will lift the Sam Maguire?
Dublin. I think they are relentless and unstoppable at this point. Their bench has a ridiculous amount of talent which seems to finish off any opposition.
5. Predictions for Footballer of the Year/Young Footballer of the Year?
The Footballer of the year has to be Ciaran Kilkenny for me. As I said, he makes the whole Dublin team gel and he is always there when he’s needed.
He’s an all-rounder, he can play midfield or any position in the forward line which not many players can do.
Sean O’Shea and David Clifford first come to mind for the Young Player of the Year. However, the fact that Brian Howard has broken into this seriously talented Dublin team and taken the championship by storm, plus the fact he’ll be playing in the final, I would give him the nod.
6. Thoughts on the new ‘Super 8s’ format?
I would have preferred to be playing in the Super 8s, but overall it seemed to go well. The likes of Galway, Monaghan and Tyrone have benefited massively from it so I’d welcome it.
You can’t beat home and away games and at the end to the day, more games is what players cry out for so overall, I think it was a success.
Dublin and Tyrone battle it out in the All Ireland Football Final on Sunday, September 2nd at Croke Park.