Dublin: Seán Moran's player-by-player guide
1. STEPHEN CLUXTON (capt) Club: Parnells Age: 31 Height: 5’ 11” Weight: 13st Occupation: Teacher Arguably the most influential player on the team between kick-out strategy, shot stopping, linking with his defence and placed ball accuracy, which has blinked only once. Not at his best against Kerry but still made some big plays.
2. PHILLY McMAHON Club: Ballymun Kickhams Age: 25 Height: 6’ Weight: 13st Occupation: MD of BK Strength and Conditioning Widely anticipated change after McMahon’s effective replacement of Kevin O’Brien in the semi-final. A combative marker who’s well able to play, he needs to be disciplined both in some of his physical challenges and judging the time to get forward.
3. RORY O'CARROLL Club: Kilmacud Crokes Age: 23 Height: 6’ 1” Weight: 13st Occupation: Student Keystone of the defence, he has had to play in an unprotected system, which has exposed the full backs to danger but he has been diligent in blocking and tackling and supremely composed in working ball out from the back.
4. JONNY COOPER Club: Na Fianna Age: 23 Height: 6’ Weight: 11st 11lbs Occupation: Essentially improvising in the corner but work rate and intelligence have helped him to adapt. Only in real trouble against Cork – the only match he didn’t play in full. If Cillian O’Connor’s fitness holds, this will be a key battle.
5. JAMES McCARTHY Club: Ballymun Kickhams Age: 23 Height: 6’ 1” Weight: 13st 12lbs Might have been a centrefield option if club campaign hadn’t delayed his return to the panel. Athletic, tough as nails and seriously fast, he has been effective without hitting top gear. Pace gives him great defensive recovery and attacking potential.
6. GER BRENNAN Club: St Vincent’s Age: 28 Height: 6’ Weight: 14st Occupation: Teacher A difficult semi-final in his (anyone’s?) least preferred role of man marking against Colm Cooper but his strengths remain: a good reader of play, an improved sense of when to break and reliable distributor. Mayo will try to isolate him.
7. JACK McCAFFREY Club: Clontarf Age: 19 Height: 6’ Weight: 12st 8lbs Occupation: Student An electrifying debut season, his turbo-charged pace has played a significant role in covering – his steal on Kildare’s Paul Cribbin – and counter attacking – his goal against Cork – but Kerry put his man marking under an uncomfortable microscope.
8. MICHAEL DARRAGH MACAULEY Club: Ballyboden St Enda’s Age: 27 Height: 6’ 3” Weight: 14st 11lbs Occupation: Teacher Hugely influential, his critical intervention set up the decisive, second goal against Kerry and he provided the assist for the third. His energy and powerful running make him hard to contain and he will work hard to disrupt the O’Sheas.
9. CIAN O'SULLIVAN Club: Kilmacud Crokes Age: 25 Height: 6’ 1” Weight: 13st 5lbs Super player with pace and skill who has gradually adapted to the demands of centrefield despite being arguably the team’s best defender, as demonstrated in the second half against Kerry. Pushes forward early in matches and drops back later on.
10. PAUL FLYNN Club: Fingallians Age: 27 Height: 6’ 1” Weight: 14st 5lbs Occupation: Insurance broker Now established as one of the top forwards in the game, he’s also a target for kick-outs and played in front of the full backs when Kerry started to go long. Defensive instincts will be needed against Mayo wing backs.
11. CIARAN KILKENNY Club: Castleknock Age: 20 Height: 6’ 1” Weight: 13st Occupation: Student Arguably Dublin’s best player in Leinster but has found the going tougher since August. Played well against Mayo last year but won’t have as much time on the ball in his different role of linkman given pace of opposition.
12. DIARMUID CONNOLLY Club: St Vincent's Age: 26 Height: 6’ 1” Weight: 13st 12lbs Occupation: Sale rep with Warrior He has really stepped up his performances with sustained work rate, availability on kick-outs, improved decision making and steady nerves when shooting in the end game against Kerry. Has become less susceptible to extremes and capable of big display.
13. PAUL MANNION Club: Kilmacud Crokes Age: 20 Height: 6’ 1” Weight: 12st 8lbs Occupation: Student His season has become quieter but he’s played a significant role. The goal against Kerry was the most important score of the day and he’s 3-6 for the campaign as well as being an alert provider of chances for others.
15. BERNARD BROGAN Club: Oliver Plunkett's Age: 29 Height: 5’ 11” Weight: 13st 10lbs Occupation: Legacy Consultants Slightly bothered by injury against Kerry but gave his best display of the championship. Not the agent of destruction he was in 2010 but much improved on last year. Despite glitches in finishing, he tirelessly shows for ball and beats defenders.
14. PADDY ANDREWS Club: St Brigid's Age: 25 Height: 6’ Weight: 13st 10lbs Occupation: Stockbroker Talented ball player who looked as if he’d slipped out of contention but was sprung against Kerry for a first start since the Kildare match in June. Played a withdrawn role effectively and created space for Mannion and Brogan.