Dublin v Mayo, Division 1 semi-final, Sunday 3.45pm
By Rory Houston
Mayo went from near relegation-certainties to semi-finalists with a rousing finish to the regular Allianz Football League fixtures.
It was a fantastic effort by James Horan’s team to win in Cork last weekend, building on victories against Donegal and Kerry to reach the last four.
The run of wins gives Mayo hope going into a very tough ask against Dublin in Croke Park this weekend.
But they are in a no-lose territory now given how their league season was unfolding and taking the scalps of some big names will be a nice boost for the Connacht champions.
Last week’s hero Cillian O’Connor immediately spoke about their delight at grabbing the chance to take on the Dubs in Headquarters.
O’Connor missed much of the last year with a shoulder problem and has seen some fellow young players emerge in the panel.
He feels the experience of a big game in Headquarters against one of the top sides in the country will be beneficial.
The 20-year-old said: “It’s not Championship but it’s as close as you’re going to get – league semi-final, knockout.
"It will be a good experience for some of the younger players like myself and some of the lads coming back from injury, it will be great to get a full game under their belt.
"We want to win the game and try and get through to the final.”
Dublin headed the table throughout with four wins in succession before a narrow defeat to Tyrone and a draw with Donegal in Ballybofey.
It allowed some experimentation but Dublin remained extremely competitive and Jim Gavin has a wealth of options to choose from for the semi-final.
Dublin remain favourite to win the league crown and while Mayo will battle hard given their resurgence in recent weeks, the Dubs should have too much over 70 minutes.
Live radio coverage of the Allianz National Leagues from 14:00 on Sunday 14 April on RTÉ Radio 1, RTÉ RnaG and RTÉ.ie (Worldwide).
Highlights of all the weekend’s Allianz League action on League Sunday on RTÉ Two and RTÉ.ie (Ireland only) from 20:00.