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Dublin and Monaghan both look to write own history

Jul 15, 2023 08:00 By Dave Hooper
Dublin and Monaghan both look to write own history
Sheila1988, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gaelic_football_in_Croke_Park_2.jpg
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Monaghan and Dublin meet for place in All-Ireland final

A rainy Saturday evening in Croke Park is not unfamiliar for an All-Ireland semi-final.

However, a rainy and dreary July evening for the meeting between Dublin and Monaghan throws the history books on the fire.

There is history on offer for both teams. Monaghan have gone 93-years since last gracing an all-Ireland final. Dublin are most probably looking at the final chapter of this team’s history.

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It’s surprising in some ways that this is the first semi-final line-up of 2023. The Dubs spent the league season in division two and never looked like all-Ireland contenders.

The return of Stephen Cluxton for the Leinster championship just seemed to add to the belief the Dubs were past it.

Whereas, eight weeks since the Leinster final, Cluxton and Dublin are yet to concede a goal in this year’s championship.

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A new format with more “meaningful” games has yielded three provisional champions in the All-Ireland semi-final. The more things change the more they stay the same!

Monaghan are the outlier in this year’s championship. Last gasp scores may be their saviour in 2023 many would say. However, that is surely down to a higher level of fitness and commitment then luck.

The pundits have all given this to Dublin before the ball has throw-in.

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“Looking at the form book you can see why Dublin are 1-8 favourites here, even in an All-Ireland semi-final” says Dublin legend Diarmuid Connolly.

“I was looking at the scores Monaghan have put up this year and I can't see how they're going to put up about 2-13, 2-14 to beat this Dublin side.

“They scored 2-17 against Tyrone in Ulster and that sort of a scoreline will trouble Dublin” Connolly explained. “But I don't see Monaghan's forwards having that score in them this time”.

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“Where Monaghan could get a little bit of joy is the likes of Conor McCarthy breaking forward and breaking lines.

“I don't see too many runners coming down the middle because Dublin are playing really well at the minute and Brian Howard is covering that six spot”.

“Monaghan will probably get a lot of bodies back behind the ball, but I see that as a negative” declares Connolly. “If they don’t come out and play man for man they could be in for a whipping because Dublin have expertise against this hybrid defence”.

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“Monaghan will need goals and since Stephen Cluxton came back, Dublin haven't let one in. They've also scored 15 of their own already in this championship, so I see this as a foregone conclusion really.”

While the odds are-on the Dubs, a test of nerve is what Dublin have yet to face. Just two division one teams have faced the Dubs in 2023.

It took Dessie Farrell’s men a late comeback to take a draw against Roscommon in their opening group stage game. While a brittle Mayo were tossed aside with a third-quarter blitz.

The Dubs have yet to face a side able to go 70 minutes. That is Monaghan’s strong point.

The weather may play a huge part in this. Dublin can play in any type of condition, but can Monaghan?

Diarmuid Connolly was speaking exclusively to BoyleSports.

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