Diarmuid Connolly BoyleSports Ambassador 2023 Picture BSI

Diarmuid Connolly’s All-Ireland Football Final Preview & Prediction

We have an exclusive All-Ireland Football Final preview courtesy of six-time All-Ireland winner and BoyleSports ambassador Diarmuid Connolly.

The Dublin legend gave his verdict on the idea of James McCarthy moving to full-back to mark Kerry star David Clifford, who Dublin’s key players are ahead of this final and the one key factor that could swing this game in Dublin’s favour.

Connolly also had an epic conversation with former Kerry star David Moran where they previewed the 2023 All-Ireland Final and reflected on their own illustrious inter-county careers. Check it out below.

The Clifford Conundrum

A lot are talking about James McCarthy going back to mark David Clifford and if that happens I think Dublin may as well just throw their hat at it. James McCarthy is not a full back nor has he ever been a cornerback man-marker ever in his career.

He’s the engine room in that midfield and against Monaghan in the 74th minute, he was still cutting hard lines and lads could not keep up with him. He was absolutely unbelievable in that game.

Dublin don’t really have an out and out man-marker other than Michael Fitzsimons, who I thought struggled for periods with Conor McManus against Monaghan. David Clifford is a different player to McManus, if he stands you up and goes by you, he could take you for 1-4, 1-5 very, very quickly.

I do think Fitzsimons or David Byrne will pick up Clifford inside. It’s a matchup Dublin need to get right, but they can’t just heavily focus on one man or two men in this Kerry side. If Sean O’Shea and Paudie Clifford can get on the ball early and dictate the pace of the play, getting the ball into the inside line, it could be a real shootout.

Sean O’Shea and John Small will be another match-up for the ages, there will be nothing given or taken there. If Dublin can get Paudie Clifford and Sean O’Shea starved of the ball out the field, they will have a great platform.

Dublin’s Key Players

Lee Gannon is a huge player for Dublin even though people might not see it.

Week in, week out, he’s done a tremendous amount of work, making runs forward and forcing the forwards to chase him down the field. When that happens they’re not set in their position and they’re also probably out of breath when they do get into the play.

I don’t think Kerry have the measure of Cormac Costello or Con O’Callaghan either, and if Ciaran Kilkenny starts I think he could have a huge role to play for Dublin.

Bench Gives Dublin The Edge

There are a lot of men on both sides that are great at carrying the ball, but when these sides don’t kick pass the ball I think they are average.

That could be the winning of the game – whoever kicks the ball in early. I don’t think it’ll be kickouts or turnovers, who can get the ball transitioned up the field quicker will be a huge factor.

Where Dublin’s strength lies for me is their subs. They have household names rolling off the bench and they’re contributing not only to the scoreboard, but to the play – they can lift it to another level in those last ten or 15 minutes.

Dublin v Kerry All-Ireland Final Prediction

With that strength off the bench, I think Dublin will win.

Here at BoyleSports we also spoke exclusively to recently retired Kerry star David Moran who gave us his All-Ireland Final preview from the perspective of someone who is very familiar with both teams.

For our very own full preview of the 2023 All-Ireland Football Final including all the odds, form, weather forecast and a match prediction check out our Dublin v Kerry Prediction post.

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