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There were mixed emotions for Galway football supporters and team management leaving Pearse Stadium on Sunday after watching their side go down narrowly by 1-9 to 1-7 against Mickey Harte's Tyrone side.
This Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final clash between 2013 All-Ireland champions Dublin, and the team they defeated by a single point in that final, Mayo, has the entire country anticipating a humdinger of a game. Croke Park itself is a total sell-out, so there will be 82,000 plus a few stragglers at the game itself, and about 750,000 viewers tuning in on TV.
What a mouth watering clash we have in prospect for Sunday. Some of the biggest names in planet GAA competing against each other. We can now definitely say the three best teams in the country are left in the race for Sam Maguire, no one can argue against that. Kerry did all they had to do to get by Tyrone and reach another final but Sunday’s clash between Mayo and Dublin is the one we have been waiting for. The games against Dublin are incomparable especially at championship level. People all around lose the run of themselves. Croke Park is a cauldron of unimaginable noise, even deafening while wearing a headset and on radio duty. The league game in McHale Park this year between the two sides almost attracted a crowd of 16, 000, the likes of which I have never seen before for such an early season clash, which is where I am going to start. Dublin came into that game on a serious losing streak and in relegation trouble, Mayo were on the crest of a wave. All Dublin folk will tell you that game was the turning point in their season; they gave Mayo a right trimming winning by 2-18 to 0-10 that evening and went on to comfortably win the league thereafter. They have since won nine games on the spin.
Traditionally, once the starting 15 was announced all talk would move towards the various match-ups that would occur on the field. But even with Mayo announcing their starting 15 on Wednesday night for Sunday's big game, most of the talk was shifted towards "is that how they will actually line out". Since Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly threw the curve ball of dropping Barry Moran into the starting 15 for Mayo's win over Donegal in the quarter final win over the Ulster men, the chances of their doing the same for Dublin became a more real possability.
This Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final clash between 2013 All-Ireland champions Dublin and the team they defeated by a single point in that final, Mayo, has the entire country anticipating a humdinger of a game.