Cavan’s goalkeeper Raymond Galligan and Pádraig Faulkner look dejected as Donegal’s Patrick McBrearty, Jamie Brennan and Ryan McHugh celebrate their Ulster final triumph. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Ulster champions are the only team that look like a serious threat so far

Roscommon’s Enda Smith lifts the Nestor Cup. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Scenes from Salthill on Sunday showed the best side of the provincial championships

Conor McCarthy of Monaghan celebrates scoring a goal against Fermanagh in  Clones on Sunday. The team’s reward is a date with Armagh. Photograph:Tommy Dickson/Inpho

We discovered an old truth with the qualifiers – the best teams still get to the last eight

James O’Donoghue in action against Clare. He forms part of a very exciting full forward line along with David  Clifford and Paul Geaney. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

The likes of Monaghan and Tyrone or Donegal make qualifiers a treacherous route

The increasing number of one-sided games under the current championship format remains a concern. The scoreboard at Portlaoise towards the end of the Dublin-Louth game. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Provincial championships are outdated and the qualifiers too have run their course

Cavan’s Conor Brady and Thomas Galligan with Kieran Hughes of Monaghan contesting the ball in  Breffni Park,  Cavan. Photograph:  Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Graham's side now in a beautiful place - a bubble of contentment and momentum

Sunday in Dr Hyde Park ran along such overwhelmingly predictable lines that it made me wonder to what extent the border rivalry is still alive. Photograph: Evan Logan/Inpho

Many formerly intense rivalries fading away as results closely follow the formbook

New York host Roscommon in 2016 at Gaelic Park. If you are a manager or a player, the New York tie is just a box ticker. Photograph: Ed Mulholland/Inpho

We need to ask is the current provincial system really fit for purpose any more

Dublin’s Michael Fitzsimons battles with Tyrone’s Lee Brennan and Peter Harte at Croke Park. Harte, like most of Tyrone’s big names, was kept very quiet.  Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

After taking the lead, Gavin’s side were in control and always looked like retaining the title

Possibly Dublin’s least-praised skill over the years has been their ability to find a way when matches are close, to keep their focus in tight finishes and get the job done.  Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Champions’ ability to keep their composure in a tight finish likely to prove crucial again

A look at the players expected to line out for Tyrone ahead of Sunday’s final

 Roscommon manager Kevin McStay remonstrates with an official during the Super 8s clash against Donegal at Hyde Park. Photograph: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Lack of application of the rules results in players taking the law into their own hands

Tyrone’s Niall Sludden celebrates scoring a goal against Monaghan in the GAA All-Ireland SFC semi-final at Croke Park on Sunday.  Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

Tyrone manager has never lost an All-Ireland final, but he’s up against 70% conversion rate

Conor McManus: The Monaghan man is  the best forward in Ireland and will prove  a major threat to Tyrone’s defence at Croke Park.  Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

All-Ireland champions to subdue western challenge while Tyrone can edge northern derby

Mayo’s Donal Vaughan strikes Dublin’s John Small. Both men were sent off in the pivotal moment of the game. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

All-Ireland champions show composure that deserted the underdogs in key moments

My sense is that Jim Gavin won’t start Diarmuid Connolly  while I would also keep his nemesis  Lee Keegan in reserve as it’s only four or five weeks since he had a serious illness. Photograph:  Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Final will be closer than many expect but Mayo have to get substitution strategy right

Kevin McStay runs the rule over the Mayo team looking to end the long wait for an All-Ireland title

Dejected Tyrone players Lee Brennan and Cathal McCarron at the end of the game in Croke Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Weekend proved Dublin and Mayo are the two best teams in the championship

Andy Moran scores a goal against Kerry. But what happens Mayo if he doesn’s excel and score 1-5 this weekend?  Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Dublin’s greater depth and firepower in the front eight can see them edge a tight contest

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