Poll: who’ll win the League final?


Photo: RTÉ

The weather people are saying that it’ll be a touch colder over the weekend but the sun should still be shining and it looks like it’ll be close to a full house at Croke Park for this year’s NFL Division One and Two finals. Tyrone take on Cavan in the Division Two final (throw-in 1.30pm) with the main event the Division One decider between Dublin and Kerry (throw-in 3.30pm).

The League usually slinks away unloved and unmourned each year but this time round the strong marketing push – largely to do with the 1916-inspired Laochra extravaganza, which is set to occur at HQ right after the Division One decider – means that the spring campaign will, for a change, end on a high. Sure, it’ll all count for naught once the real stuff gets going next month but a League decider between the game’s two heavyweights played out in front of a full Croke Park in the bright spring sunshine is sure to feel like a bit of an occasion in its own right.

The fact that it’s a Dublin/Kerry final – the first League one between the two counties since 1987 – clearly adds lustre to the event. Seven months on from Dublin’s decisive win over the Kingdom in last year’s All-Ireland final this earlier than envisaged rematch between last year’s Sam Maguire finalists gives everyone a chance to assess the respective form lines since then.

Dublin have started 2016 pretty much as they finished 2015, with their long unbeaten run leaving them on the cusp of a League four-in-a-row – a feat last achieved by Kerry in the 1973/4 season.  The possibility of this happening, allied to the growing chatter about the unbeatable Dubcelona, gives Kerry a strong incentive to land one on the Jacks on Sunday. That, of course, and the inevitable “hurt” they’re apparently feeling right now.

Kerry’s last win in this competition was, incidentally, back in 2009 and they’re coming into Sunday’s final with a decided pep in their step after performing better than expected over the last few months. Although I suspect the stat won’t have too much relevance for Sunday, it’s also worth pointing out that the Kingdom have a spectacularly good strike rate in NFL finals – they’ve won 19 out of the 23 they’ve contested. The Dubs, meanwhile, have emerged victorious from eleven of the 21 League deciders they’ve got to.

All of which will, of course, count for nothing once Eddie Kinsella throws in the ball at Croke Park at 3.30pm on Sunday. Dublin are the bookies’ favourites to prevail – Paddy Power have them priced at 8/13 – but who do you think will do it?

Who will win Sunday's League final?

  • Kerry (51%, 88 Votes)
  • Dublin (49%, 86 Votes)

Total Voters: 174

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38 thoughts on “Poll: who’ll win the League final?

  1. Both teams should be motivated but then again it’s still “only” league. I don’t really think it’ll tell us a whole pile about each one’s credentials 3 months down the line if I’m honest. That said I’d be amazed if these two didn’t make that already anticipated semi

    Dublin will probably do enough as I believe they’re a level ahead of Kerry overall, but who knows I guess.

  2. Kerry will be well up for this one I think. They have several points to prove not least the extremely disappointing showing in last years All Ireland final. Also I have a clear belief that this means more to Kerry than Dublin on several sides.

    1: Winning a national title (even if it is the League) will help strengthen the resolve of the group and especially the younger players. If Eamonn Fitzmaurice looks back on the year and sees a National League title and possibly a narrow defeat to Dublin in an all Ireland semi final it won’t seem like a bad year.

    2: Winning will also encourage the younger players to step up to the mark and not be intimidated by this Dublin team of so called superstars. This could be vital for later in the championship.

    3: The championship is what counts however if Kerry can win they will feel they have the measure of this Dublin team when it counts (maybe not this year but certainly in the future).

    Dublin management of course probably know this although it is difficult to see how another League medal will motivate the individual players. Beating Kerry wills have to be enough.

    Kerry for me.

  3. I think Dublin will win, but I don’t think they’ll have it all their own way. Kerry will be trying to get one over on Dublin.

    I don’t think it’ll tell us much about where either team are going to be for the year ahead though. I could see Kerry losing on Sunday, but going on and beating Dublin in the championship. At the end of the day, Kerry are a championship team if ever there was one and that’s what counts for them.

  4. -Kerry are in revenge mode as they simply had a systems failure last September which is still stinging them.
    -Expect Eamon Fitzmaurice to have his tactics spot on this Sunday.
    – The Gooch will be out to show that he is getting back to his best after a nightmare AIF
    -Kerry to win this because I believe they will win midfield and their FF line will deliver.
    -The thing I remember most about Cavan in Croker is their fans cheering when they got the ball past the half way line v Kerry a few years ago. It’s all relative I suppose.

  5. A number of years ago Anthony lynch gave Gooch a lesson in a Munster final and the papers were lauding his performance, the game was a draw and in the replay Gooch absolutely tattooed lynch. Not only did he beat him he held the ball unnecessary and sold dummies to Lynch to lay down a marker. Lynch was a brilliant back and their battles were worth the entrance fee alone, Gooch always identifies him as the best back he ever played against but he was on a mission that day to lay down a marker, I am a better forward than he is a back.

    All the greats have a belief that they are the best and in last years final McMahon took Cooper on a merry dance astound Croke Park, Gooch was following instructions and he knows that when the final whistle sounded he had a mouthful of foul tasting bait. I’m not sure if they end up together but if they do it will be an interesting battle, I know Gooch is getting on but he will shine on Sunday, in fact he could knock the lights out.

    Donaghy starting will also add considerable experience and resolve to the mix, he will demand nothing less than near death from all around him and they will respond, he is the main man when it comes to leadership in that team and he is in the best position to influence the game. Now the other older gents O Se and O Mahony will bring great experience and equal expectation to the back line but increasing experience costs increasing inches in the speed trials,, they are great players but the Dublin speedsters will trouble them if EF does not have a plan to give them the required cover in his plans.

    This is a wonderful Dublin team and it will be a big ask to beat them (in what is basically their home field,) Kerry love playing in Croker so that will not be in their psyche and it will not be an issue for them or their performance I think. My only concern will be the pace of the Dubs considering the age of our most influential players but they are too important to the team to drop in place of faster less experienced blood, in any regard I’m not sure they are there.

    It will be great to take on the Dubs in a game with a safety net under us, win and it’s high fives all round and lose and it’s time to retreat to the long grass to sharpen the identified blunt knives. I think this will be a cracker and win or loose the finalists will deliver a game to remember. Mayo v Galway, Kerry v Cork, Dublin v Meath and Armagh v Tyrone (or any o’l mix you drop in that Ulster pot) will generate a blood and guts never say yield game.

    Draw up the chair, make sure the fire is stocked and sip sometiing special, for this day one hundred years ago young men and women drew in air sharply and blew it out through taught lips as they gathered in blind anticipation for they didn’t know what lay ahead. On Sunday we get a chance to acknowledge their spirit by playing this great game which healed so many wounds after The Rising and subsequent tragic period of civil war in our nations history. The planned events will be a fitting acknowledgement to the blind spirit and their willingness to invest all things important to them in the belief that it would light a belated fuse to generate greater freedoms enjoyed by all today.

    Sport is the great insulator, it keeps us all together in a strange sense and when the local Club tangle is sorted the participants become joined at the hip to defend their most feared opponent as he supports their Club man on the bigger stage, silly things often separate and simple things unite, enjoy the game and a wonderful congratulations to the under 21s, a great victory but watch the big number 14 ,, I hope ye do it !!

  6. In a word, Dublin.

    And a decent victory at that if Connolly and macmanamon playing.if I’m right this will be dublins 22 nd victory in their last 22 games of league and championship. It can’t last forever but I think it will last the weekend at least, and all through Leinster too of course.

  7. Reading some of the comments here from time to time I’m struck by two things. First thing is the use of language and the prose style used by some of the contributors. Seriously, its way beyond some of the shlop I read elsewhere, both online and in print and there are a few that just need to write a novel and get it out of the system ;). The other is people’s overall knowledge of the game as a complete entity. From history, to personalities, to how the GAA operates, to game and team setups, it’s all there.
    As for the final, ya it’s only the league but I think Kerry have more to gain here and Dublin more to lose in terms of momentum and winning streaks etc. Still, it’s hard look beyond the Dubs, youth and momentum swinging well in their favour.

  8. Kerry for me , think they are a little bit fitter than normal for this time of year and for all of dublins huge panel of great footballers , I think Kerry have more quality ,,

  9. What a packed weekend is in the offing and it seems the weather is going to behave positively for a change.However it would want to warm up a bit,for the shortage of grass is causing anguish for a large part of the community in this grand little state of ours.
    It seems to me that predicting the winners of tomorrows contest is somewhat a superfluous exercise.What is important is the fact that we ll be having a battle of the Giants.Kerry and Dublin have not just qualified for the league final. There was little doubt about their worthiness to take their place in Croke park tomorrow and they continue to light up the way for those who wish to follow.Eventhough we re not togging out we still have the feel of the atmosphere and yet it’s still only Saturday morning…..that trip up,stirring the memories,the so familiar sites en route,the chat,the quickening heartbeat,the colours,the bit to eat,the walk,the gate,the click and you’re in! What a place to be!
    If the Dubs are the victors tomorrow will their seeming invincibility send out another smidgen of unearthliness to the rest of us who wish to dethrone them?
    If it’s the Kingdom to succeed then normality has returned and our ambitions become a little more attainable!
    I don’t have a notion of who will come out on top and I like it that way. It all makes for a genuinely wonderful event.The story of Fionn Mac Cumhail and Benandonnan of the Giants Causeway comes to mind . The victor on the day will be that team to show the extra bit of cleverness which can always be relied upon in situations like this.Simple! And of course the result will only mean a temporary realignment and it’s still only the league final? !

  10. I went with Kerry. I just remember being beside them as they warmed up in Castlebar and being struck with how fit and lean a lot of the senior lads looked so early in the year. I think old men are gathering in huddles in Kerry and have decided that the blue empire has gone on long enough, I really think Kerry aim to put a stop to Dublin this year.

  11. Always thought Gooch said Higgins was the best he came up against .

    Kerry might win tmrw , I understand the vibe about the place about Kerry traditionally not lying down after losing all Ireland’s etc and they have a real addition in that o Sullivan buck who’s on the bench as first pointed out to us by the Very informative Kerry poster but I’m not as sold as I was on this present Kerry team as in come championship .

    Should be a good intensity to the game , it’s going to be the same pairing for the AISF , they will knock the stuffing out of each other and it’s obvious as hell Mayo will just smash and grab Sam from the other side of the draw then . You’d want to be mad to think this year is going to pan out any other way.

  12. Should be a great match tomorrow. O’Carroll and McCaffrey will be big losses for Dublin all the same as they are high octane premium players..

    I personally think Cooper and Donaghy are on the wane. Wonderful footballers but neither can last the pace now for 70 plus minutes. However other Kerry players can.

    Dublin for me.

  13. It’s true alright, Mairtinin – they were at least six down at one stage early in the second half but they stormed back to win it at the end. Cora with the winning score, with what must have been one of the last kicks of the game.

  14. Good luck to both teams tomorrow,hope they serve up a feast,with no injuries,we have at least two outstanding posters on here one from each county,in Martin the dub,and gamechanger,so best of luck to you both enjoy the game we will take you in September,I feel that Kerry will want it more tomorrow,but in the championship I would fancy Dublin

  15. She sure is some bit of stuff our Cora.. an 11 point individual haul and scores the winner 7 minutes into injury time. Cork will be tough nut to crack though.

    A lot will depend on the team Dublin field.. are they still in exploratory mode? A lot of players will be fighting for Championship starting positions too but you have to go with the most settled team at present which for me is Kerry.. won’t be much in it either way.

  16. I think the Dubs will win tomorrow and by 4pts or more, will be close at half time. With these two destined to meet in AI semi I think Kerry wont show their hand too much preferring to keep their powder dry until August.

  17. Thanks Corrick Bridge for your good wishes and I too hope that no player is injured tomorrow,
    I’d say this will be a game played at full pelt as both teams will want to assert the confirmation that we are kings of Croke Park Castle. It’s only late April but I would think that all participants tomorrow will be in the very late percentages of required championship fitness. There could be a skirmish or two as well, a bit of a Rising of sorts to test the pulse.

    The day looks dry so the teams will be able to express themselves and the spectators will groan and gasp as their arse creeps ever closer to the seat edge if all goes well. Tomorrow is a battle for pride for Kerry and a confirmation trip for the Dubs that they are really this good as they might have suspicions that we might actually have had a bad day in September. It’s hard to know exactly where Kerry are but there will be no hiding place tomorrow and no excuse for a poor display will be tolerated.

    Great win by Mayo ladies, Christ Cora Staunton is some operator, this is a hard loss for Kerry, one point after a battle is never easy. I hope they go on now and do the business in the Final, well done to all concerned.

  18. Kerry for me..nothing between the two teams and it will make for great viewing tomorrow as I think both teams will want to make mince meat of the other..kerry will just want it more..think it would do no harm before the championship if this unbeaten run of the dubs came to an end..

  19. Sean Bourke,
    Sorry meant to say Gooch said that about Lynch a few years ago, he met Lynch three times a year and their exchanges were always special with displays of individual skill that would regularly be balanced by mirrored acts of wizardry from the other party. I’m not taking from Higgins trust me he is a most wonderful back and one of the greatest man markers I ever had the pleasure of watching,

  20. Another great win by the Mayo Ladies, a 100% record in the League this year is some achievement. Let’s hope they can now go on and beat Cork in the Final.

  21. It’ll be very interesting to see how the game between Cavan and Tyrone will go today as well. With the Connacht champions playing the Ulster champions at the semi-finals stage (if both come through their quarter-finals), this game will be one to keep an eye on. Tyrone have got a lot of media coverage in the past few months and in a lot of quarters they have been put above us in the pecking order behind Kerry and Dublin, which suits us just fine at the moment. I am not convinced yet. We will learn a bit more about Tyrone today. They are missing Morgan and McCurry today so they are big losses as well. Cavan have been going well. They have won 4 U21 Ulster titles in recent years so that has to count for something. They are not as defensive this year as the last few years and have some big men in the team. You’d expect Tyrone to win but I wouldn’t be surprised if Cavan beat them today.

    As for the big one that should be a very interesting one too. Can the likes of Marc O’Shea and Aidan O’Mahoney still do a job for Kerry in their defence. Donaghy has looked very good in midfield in the last few games but today will be his biggest test this year. You’d reckon The Gooch will have to be better today than he was in the All-Ireland final and Darren O’Sullivan will be a threat too. James O’Donoghue and Anthony Maher are missing today while the Dubs will be without O’Carroll and McCaffery. Kerry have all the motivation in the world to win this one but I’d still be putting my money on Dublin for the moment, they don’t fear Kerry any more. They have found a way to win all of their games so far in the league and I think that will continue today.

  22. Kerry for me. A huge addition to Kerry has been a fit Darren OSullivan. He’s a sprinter type and they’re often fragile with hamstrings etc.
    You can’t mark him only limit him as best possible.
    Huge pace and brains in the Kerry attack. Then you have the athletic impact of Brendan OSullivan. Not sure he is going to be kept out of this team much longer.

  23. I agree JP that o Sullivan guy looks the deal , will he get on and make his mark today or late on in the summer , they like a championship surprise so they might keep him under the radar for now .
    Lovely atmosphere around croke park hotel now , looking forward to the games . Such a special thing we have in the GAA , it’s just friginn class.

  24. dublin walking through this. kerrys older legs are not up to holding this machine and it wont be one bit different in August. This is 22 wins in a row and will be 27-28 by september and I am accused of being bitter and blind for not seeing the beauty of dublin gaa?
    dublin may indeed sell out croker today but once these beatings of kerry, mayo, tyrone and all others continue to become the norm, the game is finished. HOW CAN PEOPLE NOT SEE THIS ?

  25. The dubs hardly broke a sweat today…September almost looks like a formality and it galls me to think like that..

  26. Wow , I hoped against hope but they are just incredible . It’s not just the team , it’s the structures, the financial superiority , their massive fan base , the venue , etc etc . They are something this organisation has never seen before . It’s a runners up competition now at this stage . I actually believed Kerry could beat them today , how wrong was I .

  27. Kerry found out? Are you blind? They are a great team that was driven over by a monstrosity developed by the gaa. If Mayo make the final in September Game changer and Martin the dub may try to tell me otherwise but Dublin will absolutely be there to pick Sam up in September.
    Any thoughts here Gamechanger or Martin?
    Martin, at what point will these title become hollow? Or is it great to be so dominant?
    There’s some serious questions to be asked and answered to save the whole country from actually not caring any more about going to croke park and instead just stay home and watch it on tv because it’s a foregone conclusion, dubs included.

  28. Ah lads! They might have the best structures, facilities etc etc and a very strong bench………but they can only put 15 on the field at any given time. I’d like to correct the pundits thT claim 22/23 wins on the trot! Didn’t we draw with them sometime last August? Or was I dreaming?
    Like a lot of people I have no time for o Mahoney but his sending off turned the match as well as an awful kick out by Kerry resulting in the killer goal. I would discount the last 10 minutes.
    August / September might well be different and hopefully we are the ones to burst the blue bubble.

  29. It’s only the league. Kerry just don’t have the legs to live with them. People over rate Kerry simply because they’re Kerry. They’re midfield was absent today. That will not happen when Mayo play with the two o’sheas and parsons in there. Kerry will be a different proposition come August and so will Mayo. Dublin will be the same as they were today. There’s 3 teams capable of winning the all ireland.

  30. I was amazed so many went for Kerry in the poll….Dublin are streets ahead of them.
    Donaghy got no change from the ref today which was a turn up for the books.
    Mayo dare I say it are the only team who could possibly halt Dublin winning Sam…even at that it would take Dublin to have an off day,

  31. Kerry lack pace and have more than one player starting who don’t have the legs for a full 70 minutes against strong opposition. They were beaten by a younger, fitter, faster team. That doesn’t signal the end of football as we know it. Dublin are very strong but they are unbeatable. In fact, I’d

  32. In fact, I’d say Mayo have given Dublin better games in recent times than Kerry and we could push them again this year.

    (hit send too early!)

  33. Hi Dave,
    I am just back from Croker and it was a great win for the Dubs. I do have to say that no win is ever hollow and its not too long ago that us Dubs were winning nothing. I sat in Croker when Kerry and Tyrone and Cork and Mayo etc…all beat us handy and we were the team that went in front and then got hammered in the second half under Pillar. Its always great to see your team win and win because that means the motivation and hunger is there. I am not saying that its not the same with all teams but I just think I am lucky to be here when the Dubs are going through a very good spell. I am looking forward to the Championship now as everyone is and I wish Mayo, Kerry and all counties who train as hard and harder than the Dubs every success.

    Kind Regards,
    Martin the Dub

  34. If a Mayo manager left the same man on Brogan for the whole game ,that was getting absolutely filleted,he’d be ridiculed to high heaven.

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