As of now, the format of the 2020 GAA All-Ireland senior football championship remains unclear.
Will the status-quo remain despite a mass fixture pile-up or will the script be torn up altogether as the championship goes to a straight knockout?
Either way, one thing is for sure, Dublin will be favourites to win.
With the five-in-a-row complete, Jim Gavin’s exit paved the way for a fresh injection and rejuvenation of motivation for this all-conquering side as they go in search of the half-dozen with a new manager in tow.
Of course, a change in management, particularly when one side is dominant, lends itself to renewed hope as rivals believe they could be the one to knock them of their perch. However, as things stand, Kerry are the only side that have really shown to have closed the gap between themselves and Dublin.
This got us thinking. What if we could build a side capable of beating Dublin on All-Ireland final day?
So, we’ve gone and done just that and we want you to pick yours.
The only stipulations are that each side must have a minimum of three players per province but a maximum of two players per county.
1 – Rory Beggan (Monaghan)
The quintessential modern-day goalkeeper. Rory Beggan is an excellent shot-stopper first and foremost. A commanding presence. Can kick it longer than most and is deadly accurate with the short kick-out. Can operate as a fly-goalkeeper and can score both from frees and from play.
Rory Beggan is the complete quarterback, sorry, goalkeeper and is a banker on this team.
2 – Ryan Wylie (Monaghan)
Beggan needs a bit of familiarity around him so up steps Ryan Wylie. The Farney man is one of the stickiest corner-backs in Ireland. Has man-marked the best the game has to offer and very rarely does he look out of place. Horrifically denied an All-Star two years ago after restricting the likes of Mark Bradley, Ross Munnelly, Paul Geaney and Ian Burke to a combined total of 0-1 in the championship.
3 – Conor McGill (Meath)
They love a tough full-back in the Royal county and Conor McGill has proven himself to be an old-fashioned full-back in a modern era. Nominated for an All-Star in 2019 following some commanding performances on the edge of the square for Meath. Relishes the prospect of testing himself, he’s good to go on the biggest of days.
4 – Tom O’Sullivan (Kerry)
We’ve got two traditional types in the full-back line so far in that you trust them to mind the house. In Tom O’Sullivan, we’ve got a corner-back capable of bombing up field and scoring not just points but goals. At the same time, the Dingle man is notoriously tight at the back. Gives this full-back line perfect balance.
5 – Ryan McHugh (Donegal)
The Donegal man is one of the most consistent players in Ireland and a constant thorn in the side of Dublin when pitted against them. Ryan McHugh shares similar traits to Tom O’Sullivan in that they can be granted license to roam the field, we have thought that through, however, that’s why they are either sides of the field.
One of the most influential players in the country.
6 – Ronan McNamee (Tyrone)
We’ve got the All-Star full-back named at centre-back and there is a reason for that. Ten years ago when picking a centre-half you were talking about the team’s most valuable player, a pillar of strength who commanded the ship. That trait is almost gone from the game but we want to revert back to type and think McNamee is perfect for the role.
7 – Donal Keogan (Meath)
The Meath captain fits in perfectly at wing-back. Grabbed plenty of headlines in 2019 for his ability to go forward, however, we’re expecting Keogan to form a formidable half-back partnership alongside McNamee in shutting down the middle channel and keeping the Dubs at bay. Adds valuable leadership skills to this side.
8 – Kevin Feely (Kildare)
One of the best athletes in Ireland and one of the best fielders of a football there is, Kevin Feely is one of the few men who can out-fetch Brian Fenton. Influential going forward and can kick frees. The former Newport County centre-half is a no brainer for this side.
9 – Aidan O’Shea (Mayo)
Has plenty of detractors but Aidan O’Shea has been and remains one of the best footballers in the country. Tackling skills are hugely underrated which is why we are deploying him at midfield rather than in the forwards. A serious threat alongside Feely from kick outs.
10 – Ruairi Deane (Cork)
A standout player in 2019, Ruairi Deane was inspirational for Cork en route to the Super 8s. Put in a phenomenal shift against Kerry in the Munster final so we know he has what it takes. A brilliant fetcher which should be an advantage playing on the wing where his languid running style can cause problems when cutting in.
11 – Shane Walsh (Galway)
One of the most naturally gifted forwards of a generation and the inform player in Ireland at present. Shane Walsh been playing at full-forward for the Tribesmen thus far but we feel he brings a tonne of craft and guile to the centre-forward position where he will act as the launchpad for attacks.
12 – Enda Smith (Roscommon)
Roscommon captain Enda Smith has an inspirational presence about him. Will operate as a hard-working wing-forward who will be up and down the field. Smith possesses a quality rare among many in that he has the ability to inspire through sheer work-rate. In a team filled with as much quality as this one, he balances the mercurial with the mountain.
13 – David Clifford (Kerry)
Because you can never have a full-forward line without the fifth Beatle. En route to becoming one of the greatest ever. Not much needs said really. David Clifford is among the first two names on this particular team sheet.
14 – Michael Murphy (c) (Donegal)
Clifford was the second name on the team sheet because our captain and leader was number one. Michael Murphy adds valuable All-Ireland experience having captained the 2012 winning side. Can play in any position he wants to, like Enda Smith, possesses the ability to inspire but is every bit as mercurial as Clifford.
15 – Jamie Clarke (Armagh)
Final slot goes to the Armagh man. Jamie Clarke is among the most naturally gifted forwards in the country. On his day is unplayable and won’t be overawed by the presence of Clifford and Murphy inside. Would get on every team in Ireland, so why not this one.