The All Ireland hurling final will be contested this weekend between the might of Kilkenny and Tipperary. Many will argue that Kilkenny are clear favourites for the match, but personally I can see a repeat of 2011 final when Tipperary famously halted Kilkenny's drive for five all Ireland's on the bounce.
(Since writing this the match took place and it was a thrilling game but they drew making this the third All Ireland Hurling Draw in a row!!)
Moving on to the football which will surprisingly be between the Donegal team lead by the tactical magician Jim McGuinness and the Kerry stalwarts lead by the no nonsense Éamon Fitzmaurice. Fitzmaurice showed his inner grit in the semi final replay by choosing to drop the battle hardened corner Mark Ó Sé.
Kerry narrowly overcame Mayo in the semi final replay after extra time. Kieran Donaghy made his mark on the game over powering the mayo defence as Kerry played route one football. The wonderful event some what over shadowed by the referee Cormac Reilly who seemed to lose control of the game. Reilly came down hard on the unfortunate Mayo by failing to give Kerry corner back Shane Enright who had already received a yellow card a black card for a blatant cynical foul on Cillian O Conner early in the game. If Reilly had done his job properly kerry would have played the majority of the game with 14 men. Not only this but he also awarded two very soft frees in extra time to Kerry which turned the game. Neither team deserved to lose the game but Kerry just edged it at the finish line.
Donegal and Dublin contested the other semi final. In this game Jim McGuinness simply stole the show tactically playing Jim Gavin off the pitch. Dublin the already crowned the all Ireland "champs" for the next 5 years by most of the Irish public,but on what basis? They hadn't proven themselves but yet were still put on the pedestal by the Gaa world. Dublin were made look like a very average team after a master class from the Donegal team which seemed to be a on a whole new level. Gallagher ruling the roost in midfield making McCauley look like nothing more than a club player. Murphy's performance was simply outstanding, giving Bernard Brogan a lesson in football. He lead his team like a man possessed. Ryan Mchugh filled the boots of older boots Mark as he gave a man of the match performance chipping in with 2 goals. Dublin were quickly brought down to earth as they crashed out of the championship last Sunday.
The final guarantees a wonderful spectacle of football which will take place on the 21st of September in croke park. It will be very interesting to see how kerry play seen as they will certainly out muscled by Donegal. Donegal look to be peaking perfectly for the final but all will be revealed later this month as the Gaa season comes to a close.