Dublin and Donegal on another collision course in the All-Ireland football semi-final

Updated: Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 11:19 | Comments

Flashback to 28 August 2011 and the meeting of Dublin and Donegal in the All-Ireland semi-final
Flashback to 28 August 2011 and the meeting of Dublin and Donegal in the All-Ireland semi-final


By James McMahon

After the dust has settled on their provincial final victories, thoughts are now turning to the prospect of Dublin and Donegal meeting in the All-Ireland football semi-final.

Of course, both counties have to jump the quarter-final hurdle first, and their respective managers are wise enough to adhere to the old maxim that you "take one game at a time."

That said, a clash in the last-four on 31 August would lack nothing in intrigue, as two different styles collide on the hallowed turf of Croke Park.

It would evoke memories of their semi-final encounter in 2011 - a game certainly not for the footballing purists - a tie that the Dubs squeezed through on a 0-08 to 0-06 scoreline. 

RTÉ analyst Kevin McStay is already anticipating another coming together at the end of next month. "That's what the public are thinking of in their head," he explained.

McStay was in Croke Park on Sunday to see Dublin cruise past Meath in the Leinster final and was full of praise for the way Jim Gavin's side went about their task. 

"It was the perfect game from Dublin," he added.

"They were just brilliant. It’s the best I’ve seen this particular team ever play."

As to who can stop the Dubs, McStay singled out the Ulster champions.

"It’s going to take someone like Donegal with that blanket defence challenge – a challenge that they [Dublin] are going to have to face at some stage."

Donegal's win over Monaghan in the Ulster decider (third success in four years) was, in the view of McStay, most deserved. He feels the side are now firmly back on track as they head to the All-Ireland series.

Donegal win Ulster

"I expected them to win the Ulster title and they did it quite impressively," stated the Mayo native.

"And while the margin wasn’t so big, Donegal bossed it from start to finish. They won that key battleground that was the physicality stakes which they were bullied in last year.

"That’s why they didn’t get the three-in-a-row. They sorted that all out this year.

"They got really good bonus performances from the likes of Paddy McBrearty, Odhrán Mac Niallais and Ryan McHugh. They were real bonus performances on top of their solid old-stagers.

"That’s why they won it. They are now safely in the quarter-final and they’ll be ready for anyone out there. It might be Dublin at the semi-final stage."   

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