By the end of today, one of the best teams in the country will be heading for a championship exit while the other will begin preparations for the biggest date in the football calendar. The question is, which team will it be? We take a look at some of the other burning questions before Galway and Dublin do battle at 5pm.
How much focus should be placed last week’s form?
Galway may have had different expectations going into the Super 8s than Dublin. For Jim Gavin’s men, nothing short of topping the group would have been acceptable. But for the Tribesmen, I think it’s safe to assume that they are content with a semi-final given the calibre of their group on paper. Not that playing Dublin in the semi-final is an ideal situation but they looked like a team who had decided that they were going to play the Dubs before the game had ever kicked off.
Dublin on the other hand, dismissed Roscommon without wasting the energy of their key players. They look like a team who know exactly what they have to do to overcome a team without revealing their full hand. They will up the ante from anything we have seen so far and Galway must be prepared for that.
Will Dublin’s strength in depth prove Galway’s downfall?
As stated, Dublin had the luxury of resting their key players last week, safe in the knowledge that their semi-final spot was secure. Kevin Walsh however, made the decision to utilise his best team available and still walked away without a win. It was a move that suggested they were going to Salthill with the aim of avoiding a semi-final duel with the All Ireland champions but their play did not reflect that. They have already been depleted this summer with injuries to Paul Conroy and Michael Daly though the latter is thought to be fit enough to make an appearance today.
In the final stages of the game you would imagine that the Galway legs will tire quickly while Dublin have the edge in terms of impact off the bench and that could prove the difference this evening.
How will Galway’s defence cope with the Dublin forwards?
Galway’s defence has been an eye-catching aspect of their play this year and while their aggressive approach has gotten them into trouble at times, it has ultimately paid dividends and is a huge part of the reason why they are in the All Ireland semi-final. We saw against Kerry how they pushed up on the opposition’s kick outs, putting them under immense pressure and making it much easier to win possession in the middle of the field. But doing that to this Dublin side is no easy task.
The Dublin forward line will pose an entirely different threat to that of any other county. You would expect them to mark man-on-man and back their physicality and ability to create space in rounding the Galway defence. They will crowd the area around the ‘D’ and make space further out the field, piling the pressure on Galway full-back line.
Are Dublin unbeatable?
Absolutely not. Though it will take a tactical masterclass from Kevin Walsh to outsmart them. The Dubs have only had one serious test in this championship and that came when they were almost foiled by Tyrone and no doubt, Galway will have taken note. Just as the did last week against Donegal, Tyrone’s bench targeted Dublin in the last 10 minutes and ran at them, almost pulling off a sensational win.
It certainly won’t be easy for them today. Galway will look to target their full back line and create goal chances through Brannigan, Comer and Walsh. They need to be much cleverer with their use of the possession. Essentially it was their own unforced errors and wide count that lost the game to Monaghan. If they can rectify some of those mistakes, then they will really test Dublin but it will be a test you would back the Dubs to pass with flying colours.