Tomas Ó Sé expects a clash for the ages at Croke Park tomorrow evening - and has backed Mayo to emerge from a pulsating shootout with Sam Maguire for company on the journey back west.

Stephen Rochford's men put the shackles on the reigning champions two weeks ago, restricting and frustrating a previously free-flowing side.

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Despite that, they still required a stoppage-time Cillian O'Connor score to salvage an All-Ireland final replay, but Ó Sé saw enough to believe Mayo can finally end their 65-year wait for glory.

"I think it will be an epic encounter again," Ó Sé told RTÉ Radio 1's Morning Ireland. 

"If Mayo can bring the intensity levels that they did [in the drawn game], if they can force Dublin to do what they don't like and if they can get a huge game out of the O’Connor brothers and the O’Shea brothers, I think Sam Maguire could be heading west.

"The physicality will be massive. Dublin will be at the pace of it. Their intensity levels will be up. The referee [Maurice Deegan] has a huge match on his hands here. It’s vital he keeps a lid on things. For the neutral it’s a brilliant match to look forward to."

The physicality will be massive. Dublin will be at the pace of it. Their intensity levels will be up.

Fortune deserted  the westerners last time out. Two own-goals by Kevin McLoughlin and Colm Boyle gave the Dubs a first-half lift they scarcely deserved, but they showed real character to keep themselves in the contest, eventually reeling in their opponents late in the day.

Although their fortitude was not in question, the absence of a ruthless streak in front of the posts has been highlighted, and Ó Sé said it's something Mayo need to address.

"Mayo need a goal to win this, and it’s something they haven't been threatening of late.

“Mayo will feel better coming out of the game because they were three points down and they fought back at the end.

“With Mayo, their defence was excellent, they were absolutely brilliant. That’s a very famous Dublin forward line – I’ve never seen them as quiet. They literally weren’t at the pace of the game at all and they weren’t allowed to be at the pace of the game."

Popular opinion says that Jim Gavin's charges can't perform worse as poorly as they did the last day.

Ó Sé agrees they failed to fire, but also sees massive room from improvement in the Mayo ranks, particularly in attack.

"I think everybody will acknowledge that Dublin weren’t at the pace of the game that they normally are," the Nemo Rangers man added.

"A lot of people will be saying that Dublin have a lot more to improve on than Mayo. I’m not too sure.  

"Mayo won’t be happy with the way they coughed up possession a lot, their shape up front wasn’t great at times, the long ball didn’t work so I think both teams have a lot to work on.

"It’s an intriguing match, a very, very hard match to call."

Watch live coverage of Dublin v Mayo on The Saturday Game on RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player from 1600 and follow our live blog on Live radio coverage on Saturday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1 and highlights on The Saturday Game on RTÉ2 from 2200.